Cyclone Nisarga landfall begins, will take 3 hours to complete: IMD

Cyclone Nisarga started making landfall at 11.30am on Wednesday south of Alibag in Maharastra’s Raigad district with strong winds of 120 to 140kmph, higher than expected, making it the second severe cyclone to hit Mumbai since 1961.

RK Jenamani, a senior scientist at the weather forecast department, said Cyclone Nisarga will gradually enter Mumbai and Thane districts.

“Landfall is just beginning. It will take three hours to complete the process,” Jenamani said.

The cyclone was about 500km in size when it was in the ocean and its wind speed ranged from 110 to 120 kmph.

“The process has only begun. The eye (area of calm) of the cyclone will cross the land gradually in the next few hours,” M Rajeevan, the secretary with the ministry of earth sciences, said.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on the ground witnessed Nisarga make landfall between Murud and Revdanda areas in Raigad district, just south of Alibag.

“The severe cyclone made landfall at speeds up to 100kmph. It will pass from the landward end over Alibag just brushing past the taluka at wind speed ranging from 85-90 kmph,” Mahesh Kumar, inspector in charge of Cyclone Nisarga operations, said.

“It is moving towards Panvel and is expected to reach by 1.30pm to 2pm with a wind speed of 70-80 kmph. Wind speed over Mumbai is expected to be 70-75kmph as the system passes over Panvel,” Kumar added.

At the time of filing this story, stationed 45km north of Murud, high-speed winds ranged from 65-75kmph at the NDRF camp located between Alibag and Murud and very heavy rain caused coconut trees to sway swayed to one end and two tin sheds were blown away.

Kumar added that two teams from Alibag have been sent to landfall sites—both located at respective police stations of Revdanda and Murud for disaster operations.

The officer, however, did not speak about damages so far.

The last severe cyclonic storm to hit close to Mumbai was in 1961.

But climate scientists warned that the devastation can be extensive as today’s Mumbai is very different from the Bombay of the 1960s and has lost most of its floodplains and rivulets and is now counted as among the densest cities in the world.

When heavy rains lash over a city like Mumbai which has lost its flood plains and defences, the flooding gets prolonged, scientists said.

Nisarga’s name was proposed by Bangladesh and means ‘nature’ in Bengali.

It comes in the wake of Cyclone Amphan that devastated the lives of over a million people and left more than 90 dead when it made landfall on May 21 at the Sunderbans in West Bengal.



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