The India Meteorological Department on Monday issued a red alert for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Dhule, Nandurbar and Nashik districts between June 3 and 4, due to the possibility of a severe cyclonic storm, the Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday. The storm is likely to bring winds of over 100 km per hour to Mumbai.

Cyclonic storm Nisarga may cause high speed winds and extremely heavy rainfall in Mumbai, the weather department said. It is likely to make landfall on the afternoon of June 3. The wind speed is expected to be between 105 km per hour and 115 km per hour, with gusts of up to 125 km per hour.

On Tuesday morning, the weather department said the depression over the East-Central Arabian Sea moved northwards with a speed of 11 km between 11.30 pm on Monday and 5.30 am, ANI reported. It developed into a deep depression and lay centered over East-Central Arabian Sea, about 280 km West-Southwest of Panji, 490 km South-Southwest of Mumbai and 710 km South-Southwest of Surat in Gujarat.

“It is very likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during next 12 hours and further into a severe cyclonic storm during the subsequent 12 hours,” IMD said in its 8.30 am bulletin.

On Sunday, the weather department had issued an orange alert for Mumbai and Thane in Maharashtra for June 3, and a red alert for Palghar district, also in the state. An orange alert indicates a warning of heavy to very heavy rain likely at a few places while a red alert denotes extremely heavy rain at isolated places.

“The landfall is expected towards the south of Mumbai,” Dr Sunitha Devi, who deals with cyclones at the IMD, said. “Since the Arabian Sea system is dynamic there are a few predictability issues. There might be further changes in the coming 48 hours depending on how the [weather] system moves. Mumbai is likely to experience high speed winds as the cyclone makes landfall south of the city.”

IMD Director General Mrityunjay Mohapatra said the weather department does not know the exact location of the landfall at present. He said information will be shared as soon as it is available. But he said it is certain that the cyclonic storm will impact Mumbai.

“Central and state government agencies are trying to take all steps possible to prevent damage,” Mohapatra added. “We are specially advising fishermen in Maharashtra, Kerala, Coastal Karnataka, Gujarat, Goa, Lakshadweep to avoid going to the sea till June 4. Those out at sea should return immediately as sea can be very rough from now on.”

Evacuation of people to begin, says NDRF

National Disaster Response Force Director General SN Pradhan said evacuation of people from coastal areas in Maharashtra and Gujarat will begin soon, NDTV reported on Tuesday.

The NDRF deployed 11 teams in Gujarat, and one each in Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, along with five teams of the State Disaster Response Force, The Indian Express reported. Union Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah assured Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani all possible help, over a video conference call on Monday.

NDRF teams deployed in Palghar in Maharashtra conducted a survey in the district and took stock of the situation on Tuesday morning, ANI reported. Pradhan said one team has been deployed in Sindhudurg district and another in Ratnagiri district.

Rupani made an appeal to residents of Valsad, Surat, Bharuch, Navsari and Saurashtra’s Bhavnagar and Amreli districts to stay indoors on June 3 and 4. Earlier in the day, the chief minister chaired a Cabinet meeting to take stock of the emerging situation.

Fisherpeople and salt pan workers from low-lying areas have been asked to relocate to safer places by noon on Tuesday. In Surat, Suvali, Dabhari and Dumas beaches have been closed immediately.