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Wednesday, 3 June 2020

India's Second Cyclone in Two Weeks; Cyclone Nisarga Hit Mumbai

India's Second Cyclone in Two Weeks; Cyclone Nisarga Hit Mumbai

Cyclone Nisarga Hit Mumbai today

Cyclonic Storm Nisarga is expected to hit Mumbai on the 3rd of June(today), with sustained wind speeds of up to 110kmph. Nisarga is currently a ‘deep depression’ in the Arabian Sea, but is expected to develop into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ before making landfall – the second of its type in the region, and the first cyclone to ever hit Mumbai.

This exposes the threat to the coastal city, being ill prepared for the onslaught of climate change and increased activity in the Arabian Sea. With incomplete drainage, and little topographical data, the city can expect to be hit with more than just monsoon floods in the near future.


cyclone in the city

CYCLONE NISARGA'S LANDFALL 

On June 3rd, a 'deep depression' in the Arabian Sea is expected to turn into Cyclone Nisarga, and make landfall close to Mumbai, the country's financial capital. 

With expected sustained wind speeds of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph, a Red Alert has been issued for Mumbai, Thane, and Palghar districts. 

Nisarga is expected to be categorised as a 'severe cyclonic storm', impacting Maharashtra and Gujarat - states burdened by COVID-19.

MUMBAI'S FIRST CYCLONE IN A CENTURY 

In December of 2017, Cyclone Ockhi brushed past Mumbai, passing northward without seriously affecting the city. 

However, Cyclone Nisarga is expected to travel south of Ockhi's track, potentially putting Mumbai right in its path.

This makes Nisarga the first ever cyclone to pass through Mumbai; at least the first in over a century.

CYCLONE OCKHI VS. NISARGA 

Cyclone Nisarga is expected to turn eastward to a great extent compared to other cyclones in the Arabian Sea, which tend to hit Northern Gujarat, Pakistan, and Oman; only 25% of the Sea's cyclones ever hit India's west coast.

IS CLIMATE CHANGE THE CULPRIT? 

Only one cyclonic storm in the history of meteorology in the area has been categorised as a 'severe cyclonic storm'. 

Climate experts attribute the formation of such cyclones to 'unprecedented urban development' and demolition of mangroves, which raises sea surface temperatures, increasing the strength and speed of cyclones. 

India's coastal cities are vulnerable to 'climate- induced flooding', with such events threatening industries along the west coast.

THE PREPARATIONS BEING MADE 

10 NDRF units have been deployed for rescue operations, with 6 SDRF units on standby; relief teams to minimise damage against tree falls and landslides. 

Fishermen have been called back, and coast guard has been notified to not allow any activities. 

Non-COVID hospitals are being made available along with measures to prevent power outages. 

Slum-dwellers and those 'kuccha house' residents are being moved to safer areas.

MUMBAI STILL REMAINS VULNERABLE 

No stranger to floods, the city is still choked by them, recently in 2017 and 2019 as well as the 2005 floods. 

As of 2018, only 28 out of the 58 planned storm water drainage projects have been finished, 12 years after commission; not adequately addressing the problem. 

Moreover, with little available topographical information, the city is extremely vulnerable to storm surges in the future, as well as from Nisarga. 

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