The Tropical Storm ‘Cyclone Nisarga’ is expected to make landfall on Wednesday. It is currently 165km south-southwest of Alibaug. And 215km south-southwest of Mumbai and 440km south-southwest of Surat in Gujarat.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its 7 am bulletin. It can make landfall very close to Alibaug, between 12 pm and 3 pm.
The storm intensified early morning today. It currently records a wind speed of 85 to 95kmph gusting to 105kmph.
According to IMD scientists, the diameter of Nisarga’s eye is about 65km as observed through the radar.
The scientists said that wind speed has increased from 85-95kmph to 90-100kmph gusting to 110kmph. Wind conditions will further increase up to 100-110kmph gusting to 120kmph as conditions are favourable for intensification.
Also, they said that the higher sea surface temperature and low vertical wind shear favoured the intensification of severe cyclonic circulation.
Red alert is issued by IMD for at least seven coastal districts of Maharashtra. Several districts along Gujarat’s coast are also expecting heavy rainfall.
Efforts to evacuate residents of these coastal districts, done on Tuesday. Mumbai will likely receive very heavy rainfall upwards of 164mm.
A predicted storm of about 1-2 metres height above astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of Mumbai. These include Thane and Raigad districts. Also, 0.5-1 metre height above the astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of Ratnagiri district during the time of landfall.
M Mohapatra, IMD’s director general, said on Tuesday,
“The last severe cyclonic storm to hit close to Mumbai was in 1961. This storm is severe but with a wind speed of only 100 to 110kmph. Important thing is to take all precautions possible which state governments are trying. Inundation is possible so evacuation of vulnerable people is important,”.
“It is not common for tropical cyclones to hit Maharashtra coast. Usually, during monsoon onset the cyclones that develop move towards Oman and Yemen coasts. The track of the cyclone is completely dependent on wind direction and pressure while warm ocean surface gives energy and intensity to the cyclone,” Sunita Devi, the head of the national weather forecasting centre, said.
The sea surface temperature in parts of the Arabian Sea is 31 to 32 degree Celsius.
Nisarga, proposed by Bangladesh, means ‘nature’ in Bengali.