Schools and offices shut at noon, Mumbai got a little respite in the evening as cyclone Phyan bypassed the city. However, heavy rains are expected because of it, said weather department.
Phyan is now heading towards North Maharashtra and south Gujarat, but the authorities are not taking any chances in Mumbai, with all government offices, schools and colleges in Mumbai and Thane having already been shut early on Wednesday.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an ‘orange alert’, a degree below the red alert which is put out for really severe cyclone. People have been asked to stay home after 1700 hrs IST.
A warning of heavy to very heavy rains has been issued by Mumbai and Maharashtra disaster management departments, saying that low lying areas could get inundated. Factories along the north Maharashtra coast have been asked to take special precautions.
An earlier warning issued by weather department advised fishermen in Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, besides the Lakshadweep Islands, not to venture out to sea.
Local media reports said that offshore oil rigs in Bombay High were battening down.
According to IMD, the maximum sustained surface wind speed under the influence of Cyclone Phyan will be 70-80 kmph between 1730 hrs IST and 1130 hrs IST on Wednesday, gusting up to 90 kmph.
With Mumbai and its surroundings already witnessing non-stop rain since Monday, residents feel respite from the sultry weather in lowered temperature and hope it will help bridge the 30 percent rainfall deficit this monsoon.
As a precautionary measure, pumps have been kept ready at several coastal areas of Mumbai like Worli, Bandra, Juhu, Versova and Malad which could get flooded during the impending storm.
The weatherman said late Wednesday morning 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 Konkan and Goa and Madhya Maharashtra during next 36 hours”.
“Rainfall at many places with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places is likely over coastal Karnataka during next 12 hours. Rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places and isolated extremely heavy falls (equal to or more than 25 cm) is likely to commence over south Gujarat from today afternoon.
“Sea condition will be very rough over along and off Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts.”