Heavy rain lashes coastal M'rashtra

Cyclone skips Mumbai

 
The city has been experiencing continuous rains since Monday but rain stopped around 2:00 pm, which was the first indication of the weakening of the cyclone.

The authorities had issued a red alert as the cyclone was to expected to hit the city in the afternoon, but the observatory noted change in the direction of Phyan, which headed towards North Maharashtra and South Gujarat, skipping Mumbai.

By evening, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) maintained cyclone alert for North Maharashtra, but it had weakened considerably by that time. The warning for South Gujarat was them completely withdrawn.

Nevertheless, nobody was taking any chances in the city. The government and private offices in South Mumbai were shut earlier in the day, and there was a mad rush to get into the trains and reach home in suburbs. The IMD issued an “orange” alert, one step below the red alert put out for a really severe cyclone.

Although the cyclone skipped Mumbai, IMD predicted heavy to very heavy rain in Mumbai and western Maharashtra. As a result, Mumbai and Maharashtra disaster management departments warned that heavy to very heavy rain could lash many parts of the city and low-lying areas could get flooded.

The people were asked to stay indoors after 5:00 pm, as the IMD officials warned that maximum sustained surface wind speed under the influence of Phyan will be 70-80 kmph after that hour till 11.30 pm, gusting up to 90 kmph.

Several trees were uprooted in the Konkan belt, which bore the brunt of cyclone impact on Wednesday.

Heavy rain also lashed Ratnagiri and Raigad districts till afternoon, causing some damage.

The Colaba observatory said that under the influence of the cyclone, “rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy fall (equal to or more than 25 cm) is likely over the Konkan and Goa and Madhya Maharashtra during next 36 hours.

24 rescued from sea

Meanwhile, in a joint rescue operation, the Navy and the Coast Guard rescued 24 people, including eight fishermen, from the rough Arabian Sea off  Maharashtra coast.

The fishermen, including a minor, who ventured into the choppy sea ignoring the warnings of cyclone, were rescued off the Ratnagiri coast in the Konkan region with the help of the Navy’s Chetak helicopter,  Defence Ministry spokesman Captain M Nambiar said.

Fishermen were also advised not to go venture into the sea.

Sixteen crew members of two vessels were rescued by the coast guard from Bombay High, an off-shore oilfield 160 km off the Mumbai coast, he said.

The Navy is equipped with boats and lifeguards in Mankhurd, Malad, Worli, Ghatkopar and Colaba areas in the city to carry out rescue operations in case of floods, he said.

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