Cyclone Nisarga leaves four dead after lashing western India
Heavy wind and rain from Cyclone Nisarga lashed Ratnagiri, India, on June 3.
Nisarga turned deadly as it battered western India with torrential rainfall and damaging winds into Thursday morning.
The Business Standard reported on Thursday that Nisarga killed at least four people across two districts in western India, and injured at least eight others.
As a severe cyclonic storm on the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) tropical cyclone scale and the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane in the Atlantic and East Pacific Ocean basins, Nisarga crashed ashore in the state of Maharashtra Wednesday afternoon, local time, just south of the town of Alibagh.
The eye of the storm barely missed India's largest city, Mumbai, located some 45 km (28 miles) to the north. The home to more than 18 million people is rarely impacted by tropical cyclones and, prior to Nisarga, had never been hit by one in the month of June.
After moving inland, Nisarga lost wind strength quickly, but heavy rain spread inland into Thursday. However, it was destructive long enough to cause widespread damage across Maharashtra.
The IMD reported winds of 102 km/h (63 mph) in Alibagh, just north of the landfall position. On Thursday, rainfall reports showed that some communities as far south as Goa, like Panaji and Nasaik City reported over 150 mm (5.9 inches) of rain since Tuesday. Karwar estimated more than 300 mm (11.8 inches) of rain.
While winds lessened with Nisarga after making landfall, heavy rain continued to douse as far inland as central Maharashtra to southern Madhya Pradesh into Thursday.
Close to 85,000 residents were evacuated in anticipation of the storm, from Maharashtra districts like, including Palghar, Ratnagiri, and Thane.
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, the region in which Mumbai is located, asked residents on Tuesday evening to remain indoors for the following two days in order to stay safe from Nisarga. The Chief Minister also scheduled a video conference for Thursday to review damage caused by the cyclone.
On Friday, The Chief Minister and other officials traveled to Alibaug to tour the wreckage, reported Times Now.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai minimized their flights on Tuesday night, and announced that the airport operations would be suspended because of the storm, instead redirecting flights to Ahmedabad, some 530 km (330 miles) to the north. The airport reopened at 6 p.m. local time on Wednesday.
The Pune airport also announced a pause in flights on Wednesday afternoon as Nisarga made landfall, according to FlightAware.
Mumbai's Police Commissioner on Tuesday prohibited residents of the city to be out in public along the coast as Nisarga approaches, in order to help keep them safe.
Nisarga's landfall in India comes about two weeks after Cyclone Amphan throttled the northeastern region and only several days after the country's government lifted many coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
As a precaution on Tuesday, the Brihanamumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) moved nearly 250 COVID-19 patients from the temporary facility at Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) to a permanent structure in Worli.
Nisarga's landfall in the Mumbai region is a rare and unprecedented event.
"Prior to Nisarga, there had been no cyclonic storms that struck Mumbai/Bombay during the pre-monsoon period (May-June)," said AccuWeather Lead International Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.
Nicholls added that a total of three cyclonic storms have ever made landfall over or near Mumbai since 1891, and all three occurred in October and November. The latest was Phyan in 2009.
AccuWeather meteorologists had been tracking Nisarga's development through the basin since last week when it emerged as a tropical low. The system strengthened to a depression on Monday morning, local time, before being upgraded to a deep depression. On Tuesday afternoon local time, Nisarga was officially designated a Cyclonic Storm.
Nisarga peaked as a severe cyclonic storm as it made landfall on Wednesday, but was downgraded to a cyclonic storm and then a deep depression and eventually a depression as it moved inland Wednesday night.
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