Cyclone Phyan storms in, and out
Cyclone Phyan crossed the west coast just north of Mumbai on Wednesday evening and weakened into a tropical storm. But it still dumped a huge amount of rain over the area and rode on winds gusting up to 85 km per hour. No damage was reported in the initial hours. Podcast | See mapindia Updated: Nov 12, 2009 02:00 IST
Wednes-day was a lucky day for Mumbai. Cyclone Phyan gave the city a miss but ravaged the Konkan coast, western Maharashtra and Marthwada before heading towards Gujarat.
According to official information, four deaths have been reported while 37 fishing boats and 200 fishermen are missing.
The worst hit was the Ratnagiri coast in the Konkan region where 19 boats with 150 fishermen are missing. Al-Usmani, a fishing boat, capsised near the Dapoli coast here. Of the 23 people on board, only five were rescued.
Another trawler, ALP 4904, from Kochin, also capsised here but all eight members on board were saved.
In Raigad district too, a fishing boat went down. Five of its occupants were rescued but seven are still to be traced.
Phyan — Burmese for a cherry that’s fallen off a tree — is headed for south Gujarat but has weakened, prompting the Indian Meteorological Depart-ment (IMD) to withdraw its warning for the state.
“The cyclonic storm will further move towards the north and northeast. It is expected to weaken soon,” Sati Devi, IMD (Mumbai) director, said.
As the cyclone weakened in the sea, most of the 400 fishermen stranded in 60 boats 40 nautical miles off the Daman coast — on the west coast in the Arabian Sea — returned to shore, Vikas Anand, collector of Daman, said.
Mumbai experienced light rain and wind through the day.
The nervous city — unwilling to take chances even four years after 26/7 — chose to stay home or leave office early. Schools, colleges and government offices closed at 1 pm.
The sudden rush of people heading home caused traffic jams in some parts of the city. “I faced more trouble as parents rushed to pick up their children,” said Seema Parekh, who lives at Kemps Corner.
The railways introduced special train services in the afternoon to accommodate the rush.
Several flights ran behind schedule, while five flights were cancelled.