Cyclone Tauktae one of the worst cyclone for Mumbai in 40 years
Due to power outages and poor cellular coverage, Cyclone Tauktae, an extremely severe cyclonic storm (ESCS) that hit Mumbai shortly after noon on Monday, was the worst cyclone to move through the city in at least four decades, causing airline cancellations, putting sections of the public transportation network to a halt, and interrupting inhabitants’ work-from-home schedules.
Tauktae began crossing Mumbai’s latitude at about 12.37pm on Monday, at a distance of roughly 120-130 kilometers from the coast, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The cyclone, which intensified into an extraordinarily violent storm early Monday, was possibly the first of its kind to come this close to the port city since 1891, according to independent experts.
Last June, cyclone Nisarga, a powerful cyclonic storm (of lesser intensity) that made landfall in the state’s Raigad district, passed 110 kilometres off Mumbai’s coast but mainly spared the city.
According to Akshay Deoras, a freelance meteorologist affiliated with the University of Reading in the United Kingdom said, “It can be safely assumed that in the satellite era — from 1980 onwards — Tauktae is the most intense tropical cyclone to venture so close to Mumbai. It is a Category 4 system, as per global standards of the Joint Typhoon Warning Centre whereas Nisarga was a significantly weaker Category 1 tropical cyclone, which in turn had also become weaker by the time it made landfall at the Diveagar coast in Maharashtra.”
When it reached its peak intensity off the coast of Mumbai, the cyclone was moving north-westward at a pace of 120 knots, or 222 kilometres per hour, unleashing gale winds of up to 100 kilometres per hour in the city.
Residents around the city uploaded videos of fallen trees, broken power lines, and choppy waves in the Arabian Sea as wind speeds of 114 km/h were recorded by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s meteorological station at Afghan Church in Colaba at around 2pm.
Beginning around 11 a.m. on Monday, Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) shut down all aircraft operations and diverted at least seven planes throughout the day. Airlines cancelled 34 arrivals and 22 departures to Mumbai, with the airport resuming operations late Monday night.
During the day, approximately 20 local trains were cancelled and 50 were delayed due to water-logging and tree falls on both the Central and Western Railway suburban rail networks, while the BrihanMumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) redirected buses on 72 routes throughout the city due to water-logging on 19 main roads.
In three different events, eight people were hurt in 26 wall collapses, while 17 short circuits and at least 479 tree falls were reported around the city, with 158 in south Mumbai alone. In Borivali east, a house wall collapsed, injuring four members of a family, while in Andheri, a woman was injured when a wall slab fell on her. The BMC claims that the woman’s condition is stable and has been shifted to the private hospital.
The BMC crisis management cell revealed that two persons were believed to have perished in two different incidents in Mahim and Madh, where ten people were caught in their boats due to heavy seas and the coast guard had to come to their aid. Some of the survivors were able to swim back to shore.
South Mumbai was the hardest hit, according to BMC officials, as the cyclone moved northwards towards Gujarat, causing significant waterlogging in locations such as Oval Maidan, Warden Road, and Colaba, as well as low-lying districts such as Hindmata, King’s Circle, and Dadar TT in central Mumbai.