Less than two weeks after cyclone Amphan wreaked havoc in West Bengal, India is bracing to face another tropical cyclonic storm Nisarga on the western coast. In terms of intensity, cyclone Nisarga would be weaker than Amphan that struck on May 20. As of now it cannot be categorized into a full-fledged cyclone as it is just a deep depression in the Arabian Sea that is expected to intensify into a cyclonic storm. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) it is likely to turn into a severe cyclonic storm by tonight (2nd June) and cross north Maharashtra & Gujarat coasts between Harihareshwar in Raigad district and Daman on June 3.
Cyclone Nisarga currently lies as a depression 490 km from Mumbai, 280 km from Goa's capital city (Panaji) and 710 km from Surat district in Gujarat. The weather forecast has predicted that the cyclonic storm Nisarga would have a wind speed of 110-120 kmph. The cyclone is expected to intensify in the next 24 hours. IMD has issued a red warning for the coastal areas and an orange alert for Kerala to prepare themselves for a flood-like situation.
Cyclone Nisarga Impact
A red alert has been issued to Mumbai & its suburban districts, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts. Current forecast suggests that low-lying areas in Raigad district might get inundated by the storm surges that are among the most dangerous threats of a cyclonic storm. This could also risk flooding in the urban cities, including Mumbai. Rainfall has already begun in parts of the coastal Karnataka and Maharashtra. It is expected to increase in the next few hours.
The storm is likely to cause extensive damage to thatched houses, huts, powerlines, communication lines and coastal crops. Cyclone Nisarga could be a double blow for the states like Maharashtra and Gujarat that are coping up to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Steps are being taken by the government to ensure that there is no disruption in power supply as the state is battling with a coronavirus health crisis and thousands of people are undergoing treatment in hospitals. Additionally fishermen have also been asked not to venture out in the sea. Heavy showers of rain have already begun in Kerala as the south-west monsoon has officially hit the coastal state.
According to Roxy Mathew Koll (climate scientist at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology) it will be the first-ever cyclone in history to hit the Maharashtra coast in the pre-monsoon month of June. The cyclones that are formed in the Arabian Sea are comparatively less strong due to the cold water waves in the sea. According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) five cyclones originated in 2019 - Vayu, Hikka, Kyarr, Maha and Pawan of which one or two were formed. However cyclones formed in the Bay of Bengal (northern side of the Indian Ocean) are more frequent and stronger that is why states like Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh face the brunt of these cyclones every year.
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