Cyclone Ockhi: Schools shut in Mumbai tomorrow; Gujarat on high alert

MUMBAI: The Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Mumbai observatory issued a rain and thundershower warning for Mumbai and adjoining areas beginning December 4 night in view of Cyclone Ockhi. The officials said that the situation would persist on December 5 as well.
An official at the Mumbai office of India Meteorological Department said on account of the cyclone, the megapolis has started receiving rainfall due to the spread of clouds.
The Maharashtra government has declared a holiday for schools in Mumbai and adjoining districts tomorrow due to the “serious weather predictions.”
The disaster management unit of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued an advisory against visiting beaches in view of the high tide alert issued for tonight and tomorrow morning due to the cyclone.
Weather officials also said that squally wind speed reaching 50-60 km per hour and gusting to 70 km per hour was very likely along coastal areas.
Ajay Kumar, scientist from IMD Mumbai, said, “The severe cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi’ is 670 kilometers southwest of Mumbai and likely to move north-eastwards. It will form a deep depression on Tuesday night near Surat area. Mumbai is expected to experience rains along with gusty winds. We have issued a warning to fishermen to not venture into the sea.”
Meanwhile, the BMC has been put on its toes as lakhs of people are expected to visit Chaitya Bhoomi in Dadar (West) on December 6 to pay homage to the late Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Heavy rains, gusty winds and high tide have been predicted on that day.
“Most people who come to pay homage venture close to sea. There is already a high tide of 5.05 meters predicted for that day apart from forecast of rains and gusty winds. Appropriate measures are being put in place. Around 70 school halls have also been kept on stand by,” said a BMC official.
After leaving a trail of destruction in the southern coast, Cyclone Ockhi is expected to make landfall in coastal Gujarat on Tuesday midnight with squally winds, which may cause heavy rains in several parts of the state during the next two days.
“According to the IMD forecast, Cyclone Ockhi would enter south Gujarat tomorrow midnight. This will the impact coastal areas from Umargam (in south Gujarat) till Gir Somnath district (in Saurashtra).
“We have directed local civic officials as well as the collectors to remain prepared and take all necessary steps for the safety of the people,” Kumar said.
“Heavy rainfall might occur in Valsad, Surat, Navsari, Bharuch, Dang, Tapi, Amreli, Gir-Somnath and Bhavnagar districts on December 5,” it said.
In a port warning issued here, the MeT Center said, “Sea condition would be rough. Fishermen (have been) advised not to venture into the sea till December 6. Hoist Distant Warning Signal Number 2 at all ports.”
According to an official release, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani held an urgent meeting with senior officials to take stock of the preparedness.

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