After a wait of 72 hours, Cyclone Nisarga made a thumping landfall at Shriwardhan-Dive Agar in Raigad district, hitting coastal Maharashtra with full fury, officials said.
“The eye of the storm is around 60 km away, it has hit Raigad district at a speed of over 100kmph. Now, it is proceedings towards Uran,” said Ratnagiri Collector Nidhi Choudhari in a statement.
Uran is in the northern-part of Raigad, barely a couple of kilometres from south-central Mumbai which is dotted with towering skyscrapers and slums standing cheek-by-jowl, both at risk in the cyclone, close to the angry churning Arabian Sea.
Several hours before the landfall, Nisarga had already announced its impending arrival with heavy rain in the entire coastal region of Palghar, Thane, Mumbai, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, accompanied by strong gales of upto 60-70 kmph since Wednesday morning.
Many scores of trees were uprooted, portions of roofs or protective coverings of homes and cottages were blown off in the entire Konkan region, while several vehicles were crushed under fallen trees in Mumbai and Thane.
Big and small trees were blown off their roots in south Mumbai’s Colaba and Churchgate, some in the suburbs and Thane, while huge waves lashed the jetties at Gateway of India, Bhaucha Dhakka, and popular beaches at Girgaum Chowpatty, Dadar, Juhu, Versova, Madh, Marve, Gorai on the city’s west coast.
A medium-size ship was tossed in the waves and got stuck in the ground off Mirya Beach in Ratnagiri, but there were no reports of any casualties.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray along with other ministers and officials continue to monitor the unfolding cyclonic situation while Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar has called up all coastal district collectors and sought ground reports from them.
Rescue teams of NDRF and SDRF, besides the army, navy, air force, coast guard, police, fire brigade, along with expert divers have been on standby at various points in Mumbai to handle any flood like situation.
Maharashtra Fishermen’s Association President Damodar Tandel said that many fishing villages on the entire coastal belt have suffered huge damages due to the storm.
“As per the latest information, most of our fishing boats were moored safely since the past couple of days, but the real damage will be known only after the storm recedes. There are no reports of any casualties or missing fisherfolk,” Tandel told IANS.
The IMD has already declared a Red Alert for Raigad, Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Nashik, Dhule and Nandurbar – which is the expected path of Cyclone Nisarga on its land odyssey.
Due to overnight rains, several low lying and coastal areas of Mumbai and Thane, besides other districts experienced inundation, but there were no disruptions as most people kept off roads in their homes.
The Mumbai International Airport Ltd will operate only 19, including 8 incoming services, of the scheduled 50 daily domestic flights in view of the cyclone on Wednesday, said an official.
Several long-distance trains on the Central Railway and Western Railway have been rescheduled to avoid the cyclone.
With strict police deployment in the city and its beaches, most Mumbaikars have chosen to remain indoors, catching the real-life cyclone drama on their television sets.
For Maharashtra, the new precautions over Cyclone Nisarga has come as a double-lockdown coupled with the Covid-19 restrictions already implemented since over two months.
Karnataka, Maharashtra setting up panel to manage floods in monsoon
Karnataka and Maharashtra would set up a joint committee to manage floods in the Krishna river basin during the monsoon when heavy rains lash both states, an official said on Thursday.
“The joint committee will monitor and control floods if heavy rain water overflows in the Krishna river basin across the twin states to protect lives and property,” the official told IANS after state water resources minister Ramesh Jarkiholi met his Maharashtra counterpart Jayant Patil in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The committee will have the state-run Neeravari Nigam chief engineer and its superintendent as members from Karnataka and their counterparts from Maharashtra.
Heavy and widespread monsoon rains in August 2019 resulted in Krishna and Bheema rivers overflowing from Maharashtra and flooding Bagalkot, Vijapura and Belagavi districts, resulting in death and damage in the state’s northwest region.
“The committee will also ensure coordination between the two states to avoid flooding if the rivers and their tributaries turn spate due to heavy rains in their catchment areas,” said the official.
The two ministers also discussed the sharing of the Krishna water during summer and notifications of the Krishna Tribunal award for both the states.
“The states will urge the central government to notify the Krishna Tribunal Award at the earliest for using the upstream river water allocated to them along with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the downstream,” added the official.
Both the states will lead a joint delegation to the Centre after the Covid-19 crisis for gazette notification of the tribunal award.
Bagalakot, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Raichur, Vijayapura and Yadigiri districts in the state’s Deccan plateau face acute shortage of drinking water as they are in the country’s second most arid region after Rajasthan.
As one of the largest dams in Maharashtra’s south-west region, Koyana reservoir is located across its river at Mahabaleshwar in Satara district, while Ujjani dam is across Bhima, a tributary of Krishna river in Solapur district.
Though the 3-member tribunal, set up in April 1969 under the chairmanship of R.S. Bachawat to adjudicate the Krishna river water utilization among its basin states, gave its final verdict in May 1976, it was challenged by then undivided Andhra Pradesh for more allocation of the water.
As the second biggest river in peninsular India, the 1,300km Krishna river originates near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and enters Karnataka after covering 303km and travels 480km in the southern state to cross into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh before joining the Bay of Bengal in the east.
Monsoon active in plains, showers in parts of north India
The monsoon continues to remain active in the plains across the country though sluggishness persists in northwest India. However, there is a possibility of rain in some places in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh and south and east Rajasthan in the next 24 hours.
According to the private weather forecaster Skymet on Tuesday, there may be scattered showers in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Telangana in the next 24 hours. However, in Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh and south and east Rajasthan monsoon may remain sluggish with the possibility of rain in some places.
According to Skymet, the monsoon may weaken in Gujarat but moderate-to-heavy rain may continue at some places in Saurashtra while in Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Kerala the monsoon may remain active in some parts, leading to heavy rain in these areas.
Konkan, Goa, coastal Karnataka, central Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha may receive light-to-moderate rainfall.
Some parts of Konkan Goa, Odisha, Kerala, eastern and central Uttar Pradesh, north-eastern Madhya Pradesh, sub-Himalayan region West Bengal, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Assam received moderate-to-heavy rain.
Light-to-moderate rain was recorded at some places in Bihar, western Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, south-eastern Rajasthan, eastern region of Gujarat, central Maharashtra, coastal Karnataka, Vidarbha, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Lakshadweep. Some areas of Haryana and Punjab also received light-to-moderate rainfall.
Rain clobbers Maharashtra, high alert in Konkan
Heavy rains continued to batter coastal Konkan Maharashtra, including Mumbai, for the third consecutive day on Sunday, and the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued high alerts for the next two-five days, officials said.
As incessant rains pounded the city, Mumbai’s Powai Lake started overflowing on Sunday noon. The famed picnic spot of Bhushi Dam in Lonavala (Pune district) also started overflowing after three days of rain in the region, bringing cheers to the locals.
Over the weekend, the entire Konkan belt and parts of western and northern Maharashtra received good rain, and upbeat farmers got busy with the sowing season.
The South-west Monsoon, which usually hits Mumbai around June 10, was disturbed owing to the Cyclone Nisarga that hit Raigad on June 3.
After over a three-week delay, Mumbai finally got the first monsoon showers and the past three days seemed to make up for the season’s early deficit. On Sunday, Mumbai received 8-10 cm rain.
Based on satellite and radar images, fresh heavy rainfall warnings had been issued for the Maharashtra and Gujarat coasts, said IMD Deputy Director-General K.S. Hosalikar.
Heavy overnight rain also saw water-logging in several parts of Mumbai, including Chembur, Kings Circle, Sion, Dadar, Parel, Goregaon and Malad.
The IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy rain over the next three days (till July 7) in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg (till July 9), and similar conditions over the next two days in Pune, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Satara and Kolhapur.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the Arabian Sea due to strong winds along the coast and in the high seas, and 3-4.1 metres high waves off the Maharashtra and Goa coasts over the next five days (till July 9).
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