Cyclone Nisarga: Mumbai Hasn’t Witnessed a Cyclone in a Century. Here’s How We Can Deal With It


Cyclone Nisarga: Mumbai Hasn’t Witnessed a Cyclone in a Century. Here’s How We Can Deal With It

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Parts of India’s west coast have been on high alert for the last 12 hours to prepare for Cyclone Nisarga, which is expected to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon.

It’s the first tropical storm to hit Mumbai in over a century, bringing more trouble to a city that’s already struggling to contain its rising coronavirus cases. Authorities have been scrambling to make sure everything is in place for the 110 km/hr winds, and the huge storm surge that the cyclone is likely to bring with it.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray appeared for a televised address on Tuesday evening, in which he offered a few tips for Mumbai’s millions of residents on how to cope with their first cyclone. Even with the lockdown already in place, he started out by urging residents to not step out of their homes for the next two days.

The CM also asked residents to make sure all gadgets were fully charged and that emergency lights be sourced, if possible, indicating that the city may face a number of power cuts in the next two days. All activities that had resumed, as part of the partial lifting of the lockdown, will be temporarily stalled as well.

The BMC also had some advice for Mumbai’s residents, none of whom were born when the last cyclone is said to have hit the city, in the late 1800s. Apart from making sure that all documents and valuables were kept sealed and safe, the municipal body has urged people to pay attention to official instructions on television and radio.

In a list, shared on Twitter, the BMC has also issued a few, more drastic measures, such as asking citizens to stay away from windows, or “hide under strong furniture, such as a stool, or heavy table, or desk” in case the wind blows debris into homes.

The body has also warned residents against taking vehicles out during the cyclone, as well as believing any of the rumours that are bound to do the rounds on WhatsApp.

The city has already seen spells of rainfall in the last couple of days, a week before the monsoon usually arrives. With a large number of active Covid-19 patients still in hospitals, and a chance that the storm will lead to flooding in low lying areas, the best that Mumbai residents can do for now is follow the advice of authorities, and sit tight.