Cyclone Nisarga left three people dead and three others injured in Pune district on Wednesday as it weakened into a cyclonic storm over coastal Maharashtra.
However, Mumbai was spared major damage from cyclone Nisarga after the severe storm changed direction slightly and made landfall near Alibaug, in a huge relief to the country's financial centre already reeling under the COVID-19 pandemic.
MET dept report
As per the latest India Meteorological Department bulletin, the cyclone which was expected to move towards Mumbai-Thane-Palghar has apparently veered off to the east and moving towards Pune.
"Nisarga lay centred over coastal Maharashtra, close to the east-southeast of Alibaug, 75 km south-east of Mumbai (Colaba) and 65 km west of Pune. Current intensity (near centre) 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph," said the IMD.
From the changed direction, the cyclone is likely to head towards Nashik, Jalgaon and then onto Madhya Pradesh, officials said, even as Nisarga seemed to have missed Mumbai by a whisker. However, Raigad and Mumbai suffered collateral damage as the cyclone whirled past at speeds of over 100 kmph.
In Mumbai, three persons sustained minor injuries when some construction stones fell on the tin roof of their slum in Santacruz, and four others were injured when pieces of a roof crashed on them in Walkeshwar.
There were around 196 incidents of trees or branch crashes and at least two taxis getting crushed under them, 9 incidents of the minor house or wall crashes and 29 incidents of short-circuits all over the city, but no fatalities said the Disaster Control of BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
The BMC shifted around 18,890 people from risk-prone coastal areas to 35 temporary shelters, while Raigad authorities had moved around 13,000 to safety from the Nisarga fury, with similar action taken in Thane and Palghar for over 200 persons.
Raigad also witnessed scores of uprooted trees, including coconut and palm plantations, a large number of electric poles or power lines getting knocked down and scores of roofs blowing away from homes as people remained crouched indoors.
Several hours before Nisarga's landfall, heavy rains or showers soaked the entire coastal region - Palghar, Thane, Mumbai, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg - accompanied by strong gales of upto 60-70 kmph since Tuesday evening, which intensified by Wednesday morning. Mumbai recorded upto 7 cms average rainfall.
By evening, the restricted traffic movements in Mumbai had normalised though the Bandra Worli Sea Link and other coastal roads remained deserted in view of the heavy waves in the Arabian Sea, At least 10 crew members stranded aboard a merchant ship - which was tossed in the waves and ran aground near Mirkawada fishing village in Ratnagiri - were safely rescued by local fishermen and Indian Coast Guard.
FedEx cargo aircraft skids on the runway
Following a runway excursion by a FedEx cargo aircraft on the Mumbai International Airport Ltd.'s secondary runway, and owing to inclement weather conditions, the airport suspended all flights from 2.30 p.m. but they were resumed at 6 p.m. Several long-distance trains on the Central Railway and Western Railway had been rescheduled to avoid the cyclone.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with other ministers and officials, continuously monitored the unfolding cyclonic situation while Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was in constant touch with all coastal District Collectors and sought ground reports from them.
Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said that though Mumbai has been spared of the cyclonic wrath, the danger is not yet over as it continues to move in a north-eastern direction.
"We are currently getting details with 'panchnama' of all the damage that has taken place in the affected regions. People must still remain vigilant as rains and strong winds will continue for at least another day," Thorat said.
Rescue teams of the NDRF and the SDRF, besides army, navy, air force, coast guard, police, fire brigade, along with expert divers continue to remain on standby at various points in Mumbai to handle any flood like situation. Maharashtra Fishermen's Association President Damodar Tandel said that many fishing villages on the entire coastal belt have suffered huge damages due to the storm.
"As per the latest information, most of our fishing boats were moored safely since the past couple of days, but the real damage will be known only after the stormy weather recedes. There are no reports of any casualties or missing fisherfolk," Tandel told. Due to overnight rains, several low-lying and coastal areas of Mumbai and Thane, besides other districts experienced inundation, but there were no disruptions as most people kept off roads and stayed put in their homes.