BMC Life guards on alert at Juhu beach.
BMC Life guards on alert at Juhu beach.

Mumbai: The Indian Meterological Department (IMD) on Saturday said that the cyclonic storm Tauktae has already intensified by Saturday afternoon and is heading towards Gujarat, where it is supposed to make its landfall by May 18.

According to the latest IMD bulletin on May 15 (9 pm), the cyclone over the Arabian Sea is moving northwards with a speed of 12 km per hour since past six hours and it is very likely that the cyclone will intensify further in the next 12 hours.

The IMD has already issued an orange alert and said that the cyclone will not affect Mumbai much but will mainly affect the Konkan region along with Goa. Officials maintained that rains are expected to hit the city on Sunday afternoon.

“Moderate to heavy rain with thunderstorms are likely to happen over Konkan districts of Maharashtra along with Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg between May 16 and 17. In Mumbai and Thane, there is a probability of moderate to light rainfall and gusty winds may blow at a speed of 60-70 km per hour in the city on the said dates,” said Shubhangi Bhute, senior director (weather), IMD. Bhute also said that in isolated areas in the city, the intensity of rain could be higher and parts of Central Maharashtra will be affected by the rains as well.

Meanwhile, officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) held a high-profile meeting to review the precautionary status against the upcoming cyclone.

The meeting was chaired by municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal along with additional municipal commissioners and other officers-in-charge of the government agencies.

In the meeting, it was discussed whether traffic movement at the Bandra-Worli sea link would need to be suspended, however, the officials said that decision will be taken after seeing the intensity of rain on Sunday.

“The BMC has pruned 384 dangerous trees and has issued an order to take down all the hoardings that are in a dangerous condition in Mumbai,” said an official.

The BMC has also placed dewatering pumps in all the low-lying areas and has set up temporary shelters in coastal areas.

“We have informed all the officers at ward level to activate shelters so that if there is an adverse situation tomorrow, we may be able to shift the residents living near the coast immediately,” Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner and in-charge of western suburbs in the BMC, told FPJ.

Kakani also maintained that during the meeting BEST and other electricity supplying agencies have been asked to stay alert in case there is any adverse situation.

"In case there is a power outage or failure of supply, we have to keep all our means ready," said Kakani.

Public representatives from various low-lying areas have also reached out to residents living near the sea and fisherfolks urging them to not go for fishing as long as the fear for the virus stays.

"We have reached out to people living by the sea at Bandra and have informed them that we have activated few shelter homes and if the tide becomes heavy on them, they can shift over there easily," said Asif Zakaria - senior Congress corporator of Bandra.

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