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All hands on deck as Cyclone Nisarga likely to make landfall near Mumbai today

Cyclone Nisarga: Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Dhule, Nandurbar and Nashik districts of Maharashtra are on red alert, with the Met department forecasting “possibility of extremely heavy rain at isolated places”.

Cyclone Nisarga: Fishermen tow their boats out of the sea in Mumbai on Tuesday, following the red alert issued by the IMD for extremely heavy rainfall. (Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

With Cyclone ‘Nisarga’ expected to make landfall close to Alibag, just over 100 km south of Mumbai in Maharashtra’s Raigad district, on Wednesday afternoon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took stock of the situation and spoke with chief ministers of Maharashtra and Gujarat, assuring them of all help from the Centre.

“PM @narendramodi has spoken to CM of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray, CM of Gujarat @vijayrupanibjp and Administrator of Daman Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli @prafulkpatel regarding the cyclone situation. He assured all possible support and assistance from the Centre,” the official Twitter handle of the PM’s Office posted. Follow Cyclone Nisarga, Weather Forecast Today LIVE Updates

Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Dhule, Nandurbar and Nashik districts of Maharashtra are on red alert, with the Met department forecasting the “possibility of extremely heavy rain at isolated places”.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) 8:20 pm bulletin, the cyclone lay about 300 km southsouthwest of Alibagh (Maharashtra), 350 km south-southwest of Mumbai, and 560 km south-southwest of Surat (Gujarat).

Teams deployed to patrol Girgaon Chowpatty. (Photo: Ganesh Shirsekar)

The IMD has issued a storm surge warning in the sea off Mumbai, with consequential flooding on land. “Storm surge of 1-2 meters above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low-lying areas of Mumbai during the time of landfall,” it stated.

The weather department has issued warnings that the wind may cause damage to kuccha houses, roads, power supply and communication lines, and trees.

Thousands were evacuated in Maharashtra and Gujarat, two states that are hit the worst by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read | Grappling with virus, Palghar villagers reluctant to shift

The Gujarat government evacuated close to 35,000 people from coastal districts of Bharuch, Surat, Navsari and Valsad.

Fishermen take their boats to safety in Umargam taluka of Valsad in Gujarat. (Express photo by Javed Raja)

State relief commissioner Harshad Patel said.34,885 are “required to be evacuated. Of these, 16,597 have been shifted to 265 shelter homes by Tuesday late evening”. The whole exercise would be completed by late Tuesday night, he added.

Explained: How big is the threat on west coast?

In Maharashtra, more than 21,000 people were evacuated in Palghar district, PTI reported, quoting district collector Kailas Shinde.

In Mumbai, municipal commissioner I S Chahal said people living in low-lying areas, including along Mithi river, which runs through the metropolis, and those near landslide-prone areas are being shifted to shelter homes. All 24 assistant municipal commissioners have been asked to make arrangements of shelters in their wards for people living in low-lying areas, he said.

Nearly 250 Covid-19 patients were shifted from the facility at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, a low-lying area, to the Covid centre at NSCI Centre in Worli. (Express photo)

People living along the Worli seashore in the fishermen’s colony were asked by police and civic officials to temporarily move out of their homes.

“Worli-Koliwada was sealed for past two months (after coronavirus cases emerged there). When the police asked us to evacuate, I arranged for my family’s stay at my brother’s house — he lives in Worli but is away from seashore,” Satish Patil, a fisherman from the area, said.

Read | As cyclone approaches, 3 NDRF teams on alert in Mumbai, 2 each in Palghar & Thane

Pawan Pal, who lives along the Mithi in suburban Powai, said, “We have read about the cyclone but the authorities haven’t asked us to shift yet. We have secured our furniture and have stored drinking water…”

Nearly 250 Covid-19 patients were shifted from the facility at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex, a low-lying area, to the Covid centre at NSCI Centre in Worli.

Cloudy sky in Surat due to the formation of ‘Nisarga’ cyclone in the Arabian Sea on Tuesday. (Express photo by Javed Raja)

There was intermittent drizzle in several parts of Mumbai on Tuesday evening.

In Gujarat’s Valsad district, hundreds of fishermen returned to Nargol village in Umargam taluka from the sea by Monday evening following the cyclone alert. “Our business went down by 60 per cent in the last two months due to the coronavirus lockdown, and now this…. Now we have to wait until further instructions from the authorities (to venture out into the sea again),” Dattatray Davne, president of Nargol Fishermen Association, said.

The fishing season in the region ends on June 15.

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