Mumbai braces for Cyclone Ockhi, govt announces holiday in schools

Richa Pinto | TNN | Updated: Dec 5, 2017, 19:19 IST

MUMBAI: The Indian Meteorological Department's (IMD) Mumbai observatory issued a rain and thundershower warning for Mumbai and suburbs beginning Monday night in view of Cyclone Ockhi. The officials said that the situation would persist on Tuesday as well.

An IMD official said on account of the cyclone, the megapolis has started receiving rainfall due to the spread of clouds.

The severe cyclonic storm Ockhi will move over east- central Arabian sea and move further north-northeastwards with a speed of 21 kmph and lay centred over east-central Arabian sea at latitude 17.5o N and Longitude 70.4o E, about 480 km southwest of Surat and 300 km west-southwest of Mumbai.

The NDMA said light to moderate rainfall is expected at most places in Maharashtra with isolated heavy rainfall also likely over north Konkan, Palghar, Thane, Raigarh, Greater Mumbai, Dhule, Nandurbar, Nashik, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar and Pune districts. .

It is very likely that the cyclone will to continue to move north-northeastwards, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coasts near Surat as a deep depression by Tuesday evening.

Some parts of the Munbai-Pune Expressway experienced a hailstorm early Tuesday. The weather department has forecast intermittent rains in Mumbai and suburbs in the next 24 hours. .

The traffic on Eastern and Western Express Highways in Mumbai has slowed down after rain in some parts of Mumbai throughout last night.

The Maharashtra government has declared a holiday for schools in Mumbai and adjoining districts tomorrow due to the "serious weather predictions".

The disaster management unit of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued an advisory against visiting beaches in view of the high tide alert issued for tonight and tomorrow morning due to the cyclone.

Weather officials also said that squally wind speed reaching 50-60 km per hour and gusting to 70 km per hour was very likely along coastal areas. .

Ajay Kumar, scientist from IMD Mumbai, said, "The severe cyclonic storm 'Ockhi' is 670 kilometres southwest of Mumbai and likely to move north-eastwards. It will form a deep depression on Tuesday night near Surat area. Mumbai is expected to experience rains along with gusty winds. We have issued a warning to fishermen to not venture into the sea."

The current weather condition has led minimum temperatures in the city to go up from almost 18 degrees last week to 23-25 degrees this week.

On Monday, the minimum temperature recorded by IMD Colaba observatory was 25 degrees celsius and Santacruz observatory was 23 degrees celsius, both around three degrees above normal. .

Apart from Ockhi, there is also a low pressure area developing in the Bay of Bengal, said weather officials. However, they added that it may not have much of an impact to the city. .

Meanwhile, the BMC has been put on its toes as lakhs of people are expected to visit Chaitya Bhoomi in Dadar (West) on December 6 to pay homage to the late Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Heavy rains, gusty winds and high tide have been predicted on that day. .

"Most people who come to pay homage venture close to sea. There is already a high tide of 5.05 metres predicted for that day apart from forecast of rains and gusty winds. Appropriate measures are being put in place. Around 70 school halls have also been kept on stand by," said a BMC official. .

The Western Railway (WR) has said it has taken necessary precautions and made suitable arrangements in view of the warning about cyclone Ockhi in coastal areas of Maharashtra. .

The WR's engineering control has been kept on alert to keep a watch on water level over railway tracks, it said in a release here.

Similarly, RPF and commercial control staff has been asked to monitor crowd movements and undertake necessary evacuation at stations in case of a disaster-like situation, the release said.

Patrolling of the tracks has been intensified over various rail sections. The Disaster Management Cell of WR is geared up to deal with any emergency, it added

All emergency numbers have been updated.