Cyclone Nisarga hits Raigad, Palghar and Pune districts in Maharashtra but spares Mumbai, Gujarat; likely to weaken in six hours

FP Staff

Cyclone Nisarga, the first cyclonic storm to hit the west coast in June in over 70 years, killed at least three people in Maharashtra and uprooted several trees in Raigad, Palghar and Pune districts. It, however, spared the country's financial capital Mumbai, and skirted right past it, making landfall in Alibaug and moving in the north-east direction thereafter.

It is now likely to impact Nashik, Dhule and Nandurbar districts, which may witness heavy showers with gusty winds, an IMD official said. The landfall process started near Alibaug at around 1 pm and ended by 4 pm, he said.

Two people died and three were injured in two separate cyclone-related incidents in Pune district, an official said. A 58-year-old man was killed after a power transformer collapsed on him due to the heavy winds in Raigad district.

The cyclone slammed the Maharashtra coast with wind speeds of up to 120 kilometre per hour, making landfall at 12.30 pm at Alibaug in Raigad district near Mumbai. The process was completed by 2.30 pm, a senior IMD official said.

After hitting the Maharashtra coast with wind speeds of up to 120 kmph on Wednesday afternoon, Cyclone Nisarga weakened into a 'cyclonic storm' in the evening, the India Meteorological Department said.

By 4 pm, the cyclone had started weakening with wind speeds of 90-100 kilometres per hour.

The storm currently lays over Raigad and Pune districts. The current wind speed of the storm has also reduced to 65-75 kilometres per hour, the IMD said in a bulletin at 6.30 PM. The cyclone will further weaken into a deep depression by late night, the IMD bulletin said.

Mumbaikars and people in neighbouring areas, including those in coastal Gujarat districts had braced for the cyclone but heaved a sigh of relief as Nisarga's damage appeared limited to uprooting of trees in affected areas.

Ahead of Nisarga's landfall, thousands of people in its path were evacuated, trains rescheduled, flights cancelled, fishermen ordered out of the seas and rescue workers were put on standby.

This was the first major cyclone Mumbai would have faced in 72 years, according to Adam Sobel, a professor of atmospheric science at Columbia University in New York.

The cyclone also did not cause any major damage along the Gujarat coast, said state relief commissioner Harshad Patel.

"No untoward incident or human injury has been reported so far due to the cyclone. While the wind speed was normal in south Gujarat region, both Valsad and Navsari received just 2 mm and 7 mm rainfall since morning. The situation is under control," he said.

Bracing for the cyclone, the Gujarat government had earlier evacuated over 63,700 people from coastal areas of eight districts and 18 teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and six teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were deployed for rescue operations.

Also See: Cyclone Nisarga Updates: Two dead, three injured as cyclonic storm reaches Pune after making landfall in Raigad

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