Indian commuters protect themselves during rain from the cyclone Ochki in Mumbai.
Mumbai: Cyclone Ockhi may have sidestepped Mumbai but it caused heavy rains in the city from Monday night onwards — an uncommon phenomenon in this season.
As a precautionary measure, the Maharashtra government ordered schools and colleges to shut down.
Except for regular commuters going to their work places, fewer people ventured out.
While there was slow movement of traffic and waterlogging at some places, in most areas the situation was like any day during monsoon with the spokesperson of Mumbai International Airport Ltd saying there were no flight delays.
Contrary to hoax messages on social media that the Bandra-Worli Sea Link was closed, it was fully functional though visibility was low due to rains, officials said.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said, “The severe cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi” over east-central Arabian Sea moved north-north-eastward with a speed of 25km/h during the past six hours, weakened into a cyclonic storm and lay centred at 0830 hrs (IST) of 05th December 2017.”
The cyclone was about 390km south-southwest of Surat, Gujarat and 230km west-south-west of Mumbai.
Experts said it was likely to move north-northeastward, weaken gradually and cross south Gujarat and adjoining north Maharashtra coast near Surat as a deep depression by the night of December 5.
Rains, thundershowers and rough seas will prevail across the Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa coast, the Met department said.
Meanwhile, with rains continuing to lash Mumbai through the evening, there was a lot of concern among office-goers about their journey back home.
The Disaster Management Authority, Mumbai, and Mumbai Police asked people not to panic, with the latter focusing on traffic guidelines and diversions for December 6, the death anniversary of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, which will be observed at Chaitya Bhoomi, on the Dadar seafront. With Mumbai annually being flooded with visitors from across Maharashtra and the country, the Disaster Management tweeted, “Due to rain, stay arrangements for Chaityabhoomi visitors made in 70 schools by MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai). 20 free buses, medical facilities and civic arrangements are also made available.”
People have also been advised against visiting beaches and fishermen not to venture out into sea for the next three days as rainfall and rough seas are expected due to Ockhi.