Cyclone Ockhi weakens, Mumbai is safe

Unseasonal rain during December, the first since 2014, enabled the city to break its all-time 24-hour December rainfall record

mumbai Updated: Dec 06, 2017 00:27 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
cyclone Ockhi,Unseasonal rain,showers
Fisherman pull their boats out of the sea at Worli on Tuesday.(Bhushan Koyande/HT)

The weather bureau predicted light to moderate showers and heavy rain at a few places on Wednesday along the north Konkan coastline, including Mumbai.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said cyclone Ockhi moved north-northeastwards and weakened into a ‘cyclonic storm’ from a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ on Tuesday morning. By the evening, the system weakened into a deep depression as it reached 160km west of Mumbai.

“The system is expected to weaken further, move along the coast of Gujarat and reach Surat as a depression by late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. We do not expect any adverse conditions for the entire Maharashtra coastline from Wednesday onwards,” said Mrutunjay Mohapatra, head of climate services, IMD.

Officials said the wind speed over the city ranged from 12kmph to 15kmph during the day, which increased to 25 kmph by the evening and was expected to increase to 40kmph overnight. “Minor damage to loose or unsecured structures, breaking of tree branches, uprooting of small trees, damage to banana trees, some damage to agriculture near coastal areas due to salt spray, and damage to ripe paddy crops can be expected as the cyclone dies down,” said Mohapatra.

Unseasonal rain during December, the first since 2014, enabled the city to break its all-time 24-hour December rainfall record since the IMD began collating data over the past 50 years. The previous all-time high rainfall record for December was set on December 12, 1967 — 31.4mm.

Moderate rain on Tuesday brought down the temperature almost 10 degrees Celsius below normal, the lowest ever for December. While Santacruz recorded 23.3 degrees Celsius — 9.7 degree Celsius below normal — Colaba recorded 23.2 degrees Celsius — 9.8 degrees Celsius below normal. While night temperatures were a degree Celsius below the normal mark, humidity levels were at 95%.

Fishermen said they felt the maximum effect of the cyclone as it passed by over the Arabian Sea. “We lost one boat. Two others are currently missing. Of the 450 boats that were at sea on Tuesday, close to 100 were anchored almost 8 nautical miles (14.81 km) into the sea. The fishermen in those boats abandoned their nets and fled to the coast when the sea became rough,” said Damodar Tandel, president of a city fishing group. “The lack of fish catch led to revenue loss of almost Rs10 crore between Monday and Tuesday.”

IMD officials said warnings for the fishing community were issued from Sunday onwards. “Fishermen were asked to not enter the sea between December 4 and 6, but they did not listen. The Coast Guard and local government bodies need to ensure that these warnings are followed carefully,” said Mohapatra.

The Coast Guard (West) carried out search and rescue efforts for stranded fishermen by deploying more than 22 surface platforms and five aircrafts. “Regular updates on the status of fishermen and their boats was shared with all government bodies,” an official said.

The Indian Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, issued an international lookout notice, asking larger vessels to report the position of stranded fishing boats or survivors at sea.

So far, the Indian Coast Guard has rescued 367 people along the western coast.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 00:26 IST