Advancing in haste, Cyclone Nisarga intensified swiftly along coastal areas in Maharashtra but also weakened quickly as the day progressed.
On Wednesday morning, when it was still in sea — about 150 km away from Alibag, its site of landfall — Nisarga intensified into a Severe Cyclonic Storm (SCS). Soon, its landward advancement picked pace, with winds strengthening and raging anywhere between 110 and 120 km/hour recorded at the time of landfall.
The process of landfall, which commenced a little after 12.30 pm, was completed within three hours. The 60-odd km centre of cyclone still had considerable wind speed.
But, after the entire system moved into land from Raigad coast, it began showing signs of weakening and swerved from its originally-designated path. As a result, it gave Thane, Mumbai, Palghar in Maharashtra, Daman, and Valsad and neighbouring districts of South Gujarat a miss.
IMD’s cyclone updates, by 4 pm, indicated that the cyclone was headed towards Pune district. Ahmednagar and Nashik were also on alert as the storm was predicted to head towards north Madhya Maharashtra.
In a first, Pune district experienced a cyclone up close on Wednesday, as Cyclone Nisarga reached up to 45 km north-northwest of the district. This happened despite Pune district not even being along the projected path of the cyclone, as forecast by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Nonetheless, Pune was placed under yellow alert as heavy rain and squally winds were forecast.
“There are no climatological records of a cyclone hitting Mumbai or Pune,” said a senior official from the India Meteorological Department, Mumbai.
The city experienced moderate rainfall since Tuesday evening, which continued till late Wednesday. In a 33-hour span ending at 5.30 pm on Wednesday, the rainfall recorded in Pune city was 64.2 mm.
Winds blowing at a speed ranging between 40 and 50 km per hour were reported since Wednesday morning, even before the cyclone made its landfall close to south of Alibag. Soon after the landfall and its advancement, wind speed picked up over Pune, that led to several trees being uprooted.
Intermittent rainfall continued over most parts of the city and district all through the evening.
Pune city is expected to experience cloudy sky conditions over the next two days. Some light spells of rain are also likely towards the weekend.
In less than two hours of completing landfall, Cyclone Nisarga had further weakened into a deep depression during its onward progress late Wednesday evening
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