Cyclone Nisarga: Expect heavy rain in Mumbai, Thane on WednesdayUpdated: Jun 02, 2020 01:14 IST
Cyclone Nisarga, a developing tropical cyclonic storm in the Arabian Sea, is likely to make landfall south of Mumbai, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday evening. While a ‘red alert’ has been issued for Mumbai and Thane districts for June 3, IMD said the conditions may change over the next 48 hours. On Monday, the depression lay 310 km southwest of Panjim in Goa, 570 km south-southwest of Mumbai in Maharashtra and 800 km south-southwest of Surat in Gujarat.
According to IMD’s updated bulletin, the approaching weather system is expected to become a cyclonic storm by 5.30am today and a severe cyclonic storm by 5.30pm. Maximum winds are expected to range between 105-115 kilometres per hour (kmph), gusting to 125kmph around the point of landfall as the weather system moves over east-central and northeast Arabian Sea, along and off the Maharashtra coast (Raigad, Mumbai, Palghar, Thane). It is expected to make landfall by Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier on Monday, IMD had predicted the cyclone would make landfall north of the city, in Palghar district, but revised its forecast in the evening. “Landfall is expected towards the south of Mumbai. Since the Arabian Sea system is dynamic, there are a few predictability issues. There might be further changes in the coming 48 hours,” said Sunitha Devi, in-charge of cyclones at IMD. “As of now we are keeping the area under impact of the cyclone from Daman in the north to Harihareshwar in Raigad in the south. It will pass over this region as a severe cyclone, but there is a marginal reduction in wind speed expected. Mumbai is likely to experience high speed winds as the cyclone makes landfall south of the city,” she said.
IMD Mumbai on Monday issued a red alert (rainfall of more than 204.5mm) for Mumbai, Thane, and Raigad for June 3 (Wednesday). A red alert has been issued for Palghar for June 3 and 4. People in the areas under red alert are directed to take action to keep safe from adverse impacts of predicted weather. While a yellow alert (light to moderate rain) was issued for all four districts for Tuesday, an orange alert (be prepared — heavy rain warning) may be issued for Mumbai, Thane and Raigad for June 4 (Thursday). A red alert has been issued for Dhule, Nandurbar and Nashik for June 3.
Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director-general, IMD, said, “Palghar, Thane, Mumbai and Raigad are the most important districts that will be affected by this severe cyclonic storm where we are expecting tree fall or property damage. A more detailed list of expected damages will be shared soon..”
Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer, disaster management cell, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said, “Based on continuous updates being received from IMD, our preparation to handle the situation is underway.” Another BMC officer said warnings have been issued to the fishing community and officers were checking on Covid-19 care centres.
Independent meteorologists also said the system is expected to cross south of Mumbai on the morning of June 3, around 9am. “The wind speed along with rough sea conditions in the landfall region will be capable of damaging weak structures (such as huts), affecting poor people and fishermen who live at the coastline,” said Akshay Deoras, independent meteorologist and researcher at University of Reading.
Meanwhile, even as Maharashtra braced for the impact of a cyclone within 48 hours, the IMD’s Doppler weather radar was dysfunctional throughout Monday morning. The radar located at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Colaba can carry out weather surveillance at distance of 300 km radius from its location. The radar provides long-range weather surveillance, detection and forecast for rainfall, cloud formation, thunderstorms and other weather conditions such as tropical storms.
“There was maintenance work underway on the roof where the Doppler radar is located on Monday. However the work was completed by afternoon and the radar was working from 5pm onwards,” said a senior IMD official. The Doppler radar was down on December 4, 2017 when Cyclone Ockhi brushed past the Mumbai coast. During June and July last year, when the city witnessed extremely heavy rain, the Doppler radar was dysfunctional on both days due to technical difficulties. The radar is very useful for better monitoring of cloud developments, thunderstorms and rainfall on a real-time basis