MUMBAI: Mumbai was soaked in record-breaking rainfall as Cyclone Ockhi lashed the coast of Maharashtra state before making landfall as a deep depression near Surat in Gujarat.
Ockhi has already claimed 20 lives in India’s southern states after battering parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep islands, Indian media reported.
Ockhi, intially a “very severe” cyclone, has weakened into a “severe” cyclone as it hit land.
A Mumbai resident took this video, above, showing Mumbai’s Bandra Sea Link in the eye of the storm.
The cycloned kicked up huge waves and as many as 1,540 people, including fishermen, affected by the cyclone were rescued by various agencies.
Weather Alert for #Maharashtra: Moderate #rain & #thundershower with strong winds, rough sea over Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman, Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, #Mumbai Nandurbar, #Nashik #Pune Raigarh, Ratnagiri, Satara, #Thane Harnai and #Kolhapur in next 36- 48 hrs— SkymetWeather (@SkymetWeather) December 5, 2017
Naval ships, helicopters, Coast Guard vessels and Air Force planes are engaged in the rescue and relief operations.
#HADR #OpSahayam #SAR update: 10 Navy ships & 08 ac continue 2b deployed in close coordination with ICG ships & ac for Op Sahayam. P8i is in air as of now. #SAR focussed in wider sea areas incl areas W & NW of L&M Islands. @nsitharaman @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) December 5, 2017
‘Shoulder to shoulder’
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday twitted that he was “continuously monitoring the situation” and urged BJP workers to help and stand “shoulder to shoulder” with fellow citizens.
With #CycloneOckhi expected to make a landfall in Gujarat, I appeal to @BJP4Gujarat Karyakartas to focus on helping people across the state. Our Karyakartas should devote themselves to providing all possible assistance and stand shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 5, 2017
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has declared precautionary holiday for schools and colleges in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Sindhudurga, Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts on Tuesday as a precaution.
Indian media also reported that in Surat, 283 km from Mumbai, rescue teams have been stationed.
#CycloneOckhi: Take a look at the updated track of #cyclone in seconds. #Gujarat #Maharashtra #Mumbairains @RidlrMUM @Saamanaonline @ETNOWlive @mataonline @abpmajhatv @MumbaiPolice @MirrorNow pic.twitter.com/QoGHXxBYoB— SkymetWeather (@SkymetWeather) December 5, 2017
According to SkyMetWeather, in the last 24 hours (from 8:30 am on Monday), Santa Cruz in Mumbai has recorded 22 mm of rainfall while Colaba has witnessed 23 mm of rain.
Cyclone Ockhi is barrelling north-eastward from Arabian Sea in a curved track hitting the western Indian coast. It is expected make landfall near Surat and the Gulf of Khambat in Gujarat as a deep depression early on Wednesday, according to weathermen.
Forecasters at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predict that Maharashtra will witness moderate rainfall at a few places over north Konkan, including Mumbai.
They also expect moderate-to-heavy rainfall at a few places “along with wind speed reaching 50-60 kmph gusting to 70 kmph” along the coastal areas.
Indian media reported that Mumbai’s disaster management unit has advised people against visiting beaches in view of high tide alert.
Fishermen have been asked not to venture out into the sea. Coast Guard has deployed all its resources to meet any emergency requirement.
#HADR #OpSahayam #SAR Indian Navy Seaking deployed at at Kavaratti Island being used to transfer relief material to Bitra Island 1/n @nsitharaman @DefenceMinIndia @SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/YUYz7173AH— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) December 5, 2017
Rail: In Mumbai, the Western Railways has deployed extra personnel for crowd management in case of any emergency due to the cyclone. Some parts of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway experienced a hailstorm early today, police said.
Wet spell: According to the IMD, Gujarat is very likely to experience a wet spell during the next four days. “Heavy rainfall might occur in Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir-Sonath and Bhavnagar districts on December 5,” it said. BJP chief Amit Shah has cancelled his rallies scheduled in Rajula, Mahuva and Sihor — the places near the coast.
Another storm brewing: While Cyclone Ockhi was said to be weakening, another tropical storm was brewing in the Bay of Bengal on the east coast, officials said.
Low-pressure area: The Regional Meteorological Centre said on Monday that a well-marked low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal is likely to become a depression and move towards Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh by December 6.