Mumbai News

When 20-hour storm paralysed Bombay: Old-timers recall fury of cyclone which hit Mumbai in 1948 – India Today

With Cyclone Nisarga making landfall nearby Alibaug on Wednesday, many senior citizens recall the fury of the cyclone that hit the city in 1948.

Strong winds and rain had lashed the city incessantly, trees were uprooted in large numbers and there was extensive property damage during that cyclone, they recall.

Pune-based Sucheta Nadkarny (81), who lived in Mumbai suburb Vile Parle in 1948 said, “I remember huge trees in our area were uprooted and plants in our garden destroyed.

“I was 10 years old then and remember this because my mother was heart-broken as the plants she had lovingly nurtured were destroyed,” Nadkarny told PTI.

“On November 22 that year Mumbai, then Bombay, was completely paralysed after the fierce storm which raged for 20 hours. Intermittent rains caused floods in several parts of the city,” another senior citizen said.

A newspaper’s headline on November 23 1948 read “Bombay paralysed by cyclone”. The cyclone had struck Mumbai on November 21 shortly after sunset, the newspaper said.

The city was without power supply. The Bombay station of All India Radio was affected, telegraphic communication breached,electric supply cut off and local transport system was disrupted,” the newspaper reported.

Seven people were killed and over 100 injured in a single day, it said. The casualties were due to house collapses and were roads blocked by uprooted trees, it added.

Fishing boats, motor launches in the harbour were either sunk or damaged, it said.

In 2013, Mumbai was listed by the journal Nature Climate Change as the fifth coastal city in the world to be most affected by flooding in the future, measured by economic losses. The first four are Guangzhou, Miami, New York-Newark and New Orleans.

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