Mumbai: Maharashtra, the epicentre of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak, was on Monday facing a new threat in the form of a fast-moving depression in the Arabian Sea, which is predicted to intensify into a severe cyclone named ‘Nisarga’ and make landfall by Wednesday evening.
Nisarga’s impact is likely to be felt most strongly in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Meteorological Department (IMD) said Monday as it issued a red alert for six other districts including Palghar, Thane, Raigad, Dhule, Nandurbar and Nashik between June 3 and 4.
On Monday, the depression lay 310 km southwest of Panjim in Goa, 570 km south-southwest of Mumbai in Maharashtra and 800 km south-southwest of Surat in Gujarat. The depression is likely to move northwards till June 2 morning and then re-curve north-northeastwards and cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts during June 3 afternoon, which is when it is likely to make landfall.
As per the current IMD forecast, the entire region between Daman (near Gujarat) and Harihareshwar in Raigad — comprising the Konkan coastline, which encompasses Mumbai — as well as some inland districts of Maharashtra, stand to be affected. However, the next 48 hours may bring further changes to the forecast Sunitha Devi, in-charge of cyclones at the IMD, said.
“The landfall is expected towards the south of Mumbai. Since the Arabian Sea system is dynamic there are a few predictability issues. There might be further changes in the coming 48 hours depending on how the system moves,” she said. “An orange alert will be issued 48 hours before the landfall while a red alert will be issued 12 to 24 hours for the affected areas,” she said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said an alert has been sounded in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts. “Authorities have been instructed to shift the people who are residing in kuccha houses to safer locations,” he said at the meeting with Shah, according to a statement released by the Chief Minister’s Office.
It added that Udddhav also told Shah that instructions have been issued to shift the people from slums, especially those residing in low-lying areas, in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), to safer locations. “I have also asked authorities to see how Covid-19 patients can be shifted from the temporary hospitals,” he said.
The NDRF has just had a first-hand experience of carrying out relief and rescue work during a cyclone while also dealing with the threat of the novel coronavirus — Amphan in West Bengal and Odisha.