Cyclone Nisarga likely to cross close to Mumbai coast: IMD

Cheryl Sanders
June 3, 2020

"Now that this shore has been reclaimed, Worli will be the worst hit area in all of Mumbai during the cyclone", said Fernandes.

In Worli Koliwada - one of Mumbai's largest fishing villages - the impact of the lockdown has been much harsher. The financial capital is already suffering due to coronavirus.

Although the exact location of the landfall is still not determined, it is likely to be close to Mumbai.

PTI has quoted IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra as saying that the cyclone will cross the coast on the evening of 3 June with a speed of 105 to 110 kmph.

Weather department has said that heavy rainfall may lead to water logging, flooding of low lying areas, uprooting of trees and hence has asked people to be alert. "It is very likely to move almost northwards initially till 02nd June Morning and then recurve north-northeastwards and cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts between Harihareshwar (Raigad, Maharashtra) and Daman during evening/ night of 3rd June", a bulletin of the IMD issued at 9.20 AM today said.

"So the chance of a worst case scenario is now greatly reduced".

It was in 1882 that Mumbai, which faces the brunt of torrential rains nearly every year, was hit by a cyclonic storm. "And there is still time for things to change, so everyone in the area should monitor the forecast completely", he added. Heavy to very heavy rains are possible over Konkan and Goa including Mumbai between June 2nd and 3rd.

Sarita Fernandes, a coastal policy researcher from Mumbai, points out the rocky shore that characterised the Worli coast served as a natural buffer zone, protecting coastal residents from flooding during the rains.

It also said precautions will be taken during relief work given the prevalence of COVID-19.

Amitav Ghosh, a leading novelist who has written extensively on climate change, says there has been an increase in cyclonic activity in the Arabian sea in the last couple of decades. A 2012 paper predicts a 46% increase in tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea by the end of the century. And between 1998 and 2001, three cyclones hit the subcontinent north of Mumbai, claiming over 17,000 lives, he notes.

The classification of cyclones and their strength is determined by the wind velocities that they produce.

Independent Meteorologist Akshay Deoras said fishermen and those living in shanties would be the most affected, asking government to launch an evacuation exercise.

More than 85 people were killed by Amphan in both eastern India and Bangladesh.

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