Mumbai: Cyclone Tauktae hit Mumbai with full fury bringing heavy rains, strong winds of over 60-75 kph, which created havoc by uprooting scores of trees, damaging some houses and disrupted traffic, officials said.
Categorised now as 'Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm', its effects were felt shortly after midnight of Sunday-Monday with many areas lashed by heavy rains, escorted by lightning in some places, intensified by powerful winds, as it whirled northwards from Sindhudurg-Ratnagiri towards Raigad-Mumbai en route to the Gujarat coast. As a precautionary measure, the state authorities have already shifted out 7,866 people from vulnerable spots along the coast, besides another around 4,000 in Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Thane.
Several roads were beleaguered as at least 30 big and small trees got uprooted in different parts of Mumbai and Thane, during the night, besides minor damage to several houses. The cyclone was hovering around 160 kms away from the Mumbai coast and is likely to reach Gujarat by midnight tonight, said the IMD's latest warning bulletin.
It is accompanied by strong winds of 180-190 kmph, gusting to 210 kmph, which is expected to drop gradually over the next 48 hours into a depression with 40-60 kmph windspeeds by Wednesday. The IMD has warned of winds of upto 75-100 kmph in Mumbai, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Thane and Palghar during the day and people have been asked not to venture outdoors.
MUMBAI AIRPORT SHUT
Amid the potential threats created by the raging Cyclone Tauktae, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai has shut all operations for 3 hours from 11 am to 2 pm on Monday. An official spokesperson said that the move was necessitated in view of the alerts over the Cyclone Tauktae - currently passing by Mumbai with windspeeds of 75-85 kmph - as the storm hurtles to south Gujarat.
BANDRA-WORLI SEA LINK CLOSED
Vehicular movement on Bandra-Worli sea link has been halted in light of cyclone Tauktae which is currently 160 km south-southwest of Mumbai. The very severe cyclonic storm is likely to intensify during the next 24 hours and reach the Gujarat coast on Monday, according to the officials from weather department.
Also, as a preventive measure, Mumbai Monorail has suspended all the operations for a day.
According to officials, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indian Navy is on alert as Cyclone Tauktae intensified to a very severe cyclonic storm and was passing close to Mumbai. Six flood rescue teams of the Mumbai fire brigade are also deployed at beaches and five temporary shelters each are in place at 24 civic wards of the city to shift citizens there if required, officials further informed.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that the administration is on high alert in Maharashtra and he himself is keeping a close tab on the situation. “We are already prepared for this cyclone. The state government has taken certain measures to prevent the damage. We have made up the backup electricity supply plan particularly in COVID hospitals,” he said. Cyclone Tauktae, which is whirling northwards along India's western coast, is likely to reach Gujarat on Monday evening, and cross the coast between Porbandar and Mahuva late in the night.