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Cyclone crosses India's west coast, weakens

People in Mumbai and Thane asked to stay at home after evening.

News18 |

Updated:November 11, 2009, 4:26 PM IST
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Cyclone crosses India's west coast, weakens
People in Mumbai and Thane asked to stay at home after evening.

Mumbai: Cyclone Phyan crossed India's west coast just north of Mumbai on Wednesday evening and weakened into a tropical storm, but still dumped a huge amount of rain over the area and rode on winds gusting up to 85 km per hour. No damage was reported in the initial hours.

The storm is now likely to move further north by northeast and weaken into a deep depression overnight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on its cyclone alert website.

On Wednesday evening, the weather office predicted more rainfall under the influence of the storm, "with heavy to very heavy fall at a few places over Konkan, central Maharashtra, Marathwada and south Gujarat. There will be rainfall at many places over Madhya Pradesh during the next 24 hours, with isolated heavy falls likely."

It said gales with winds at a speed of 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph are likely along and off north Maharashtra and adjoining south Gujarat coasts till midnight. "Sea condition will be high to very high."

The authorities warned that the winds were still strong enough to damage huts and break tree branches, causing damage to power and communications lines in coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Before Phyan weakened, people scurried home in pelting rain as schools, colleges and offices shut here in the early afternoon.

Maharashtra Chief Secretary Johny Joseph said: "All disaster control agencies like the district administration, police, civic and traffic authorities, fire brigade, Home Guards, Coast Guard, and the Indian Navy have been put on high alert to tackle any eventuality arising out of the weather conditions."

Authorities have also advised citizens to keep away from popular coastal haunts like Churchgate, Nariman Point, Colaba, Worli, Bandra, Juhu, Versova, Marve, Bhayander and Vasai as huge waves could lash the shore by the evening.

Non-stop rain and heavy cloud cover led to a number of flight delays in and out of Mumbai. According to an official of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, incoming flights were getting delayed by an hour and departures were around 15 minutes behind schedule.

Though there were traffic jams on the main roads in the city, suburban train services were operating normally. Central Railway and Western Railway ran special services to clear the rush of passengers, especially those bound for far-flung suburbs.

Fishermen in Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, besides the Lakshadweep Islands, have been advised not to go out to sea. But about 60 fishing boats remained missing at sea, with the Indian Navy and Coast Guard planes and ships searching for them.

Civic authorities kept pumps in readiness at several coastal areas of Mumbai like Worli, Bandra, Juhu, Versova and Malad.

In Gujarat, the state government stood down its cyclone alert in the evening.

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