MUMBAI: Even as a red alert was sounded out for Mumbai, Thane and Palghar by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for Wednesday in the wake of the severe cyclonic storm Nisarga in the Arabian sea, the city managed to stay afloat. This is mainly as the storm moved further southeast of Alibaug. Experts said that had it moved towards the north instead, it could have badly battered Mumbai and adjoining areas.
Cyclone Nisarga intensified into a severe cyclonic storm only on the early hours of Wednesday. The landfall process started post noon and went on for around three hours. During those hours, Mumbai witnessed strong and gusty winds which led to several trees being uprooted. However, the wind speed was not as intense as expected. According to IMD, the maximum wind speed recorded by the IMD Colaba observatory was 49.95kmph and that by the Santacruz observatory was 22.2kmph.
K S Hosalikar, deputy director-general (western region), IMD said, “The landfall occured around noon and at that time the eye of the cyclone was near Alibaug where the wind speed reported was than 125kmph.”
Private forecasting agency Skymet Weather Services also said that Mumbai escaped the fury of the cyclone. “In case of Mumbai, we were expecting winds speed to touch upto 100-110 kmph however with the storm having gone much to the south of Alibaug the maximum wind speed witnessed was 50-55 kmph. For Mumbai it was like the usual monsoon rains and by evening the intensity of the cyclone started reducing as well,” said Mahesh Palawat-vice president, Meteorology And Climate Change.
“The impact in Mumbai was less than expected and more so because the cyclone continued to struggle as it could not build up on its intensity. In the morning, it was crucial to see which direction it was heading. This is still a big lesson for Mumbai because had the cyclone moved towards North it would have affected the city badly,” said Akshay Deoras, an independent meteorologist who is a PhD student at the Department of Meteorology, University of Reading in UK.
However, the IMD said that by Thursday, the skies are expected to clear and a green alert forecasting only ‘light to moderate rain’ was in place.
In Video:Sigh of relief for Mumbaikars as Cyclone Nisarga moves away