Tropical storm Nisarga, which will cross Maharashtra and Gujarat coast on Wednesday, is likely to intensify into “severe cyclonic storm” by Tuesday night, PTI reported, citing the India Meteorological Department.

“Deep depression intensified into a cyclonic storm around noon today,” IMD Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said.

Maharashtra, the worst-hit state by the coronavirus pandemic, has deployed ten teams of the National Disaster Response Force for rescue and relief operations. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s office said that an alert has been issued for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg districts.

Thackeray’s office also said precautions will be taken during relief work to minimise the spread of the coronavirus. “Out of the 16 NDRF units, 10 have been deployed for rescue operation during the cyclone, and six SDRF units are in reserve,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has kept its disaster management control room and all necessary departments on high alert. All 24 ward offices have been ordered to relocate people living in flood-prone areas to nearby schools.

Maharashtra minister and Shiv Sena leader Aaditya Thackeray urged citizens to follow the instructions of the local authorities strictly to prepare for the landfall of the cyclone. “This morning, I had a detailed review of the preparations to handle the incoming cyclone Nisarga with the Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai [Iqbal Singh] Chahal ji and all the AMCs, DMCs and ACs for all wards,” he tweeted. “While we fight Covid, we are prepping ourselves to also deal with cyclone. We have to safeguard our citizens and the city at large. All the wards have begun the pre cyclone preps.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also reviewed the situation. “Took stock of the situation in the wake of cyclone conditions in parts of India’s western coast,” he tweeted. “Praying for everyone’s well-being. I urge people to take all possible precautions and safety measures.”


Meanwhile, the Valsad and Navsari district administrations in Gujarat have started evacuating nearly 20,000 people from 47 villages located close to the coastline. “We have deployed our teams to shift nearly 10,000 people living in 35 coastal villages,” Valsad Collector RR Raval told PTI. “We have already identified shelter homes and started the evacuation process.”

Navsari Collector Ardra Agarwal said the administration has begun the process of shifting some 10,200 people from 12 villages.

However, the weather department indicated that the cyclone may not make a landfall on the Gujarat coast.“It will have an impact in the form of gusty winds coupled with heavy rainfall in the coastal belt,” state MeT centre director Jayanta Sarkar said.

As many as 14 teams of the National Disaster Response Force have also been deployed to handle the situation. Five more teams will be airlifted from other states and reach the state, a statement by NDRF said.

Seven districts in south Gujarat and two in Saurashtra region have been put on high alert, The Hindu reported. The authorities have asked fishermen to avoid venturing into the sea.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah held video conference with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani about preparations.

The tropical storm will make landfall weeks after Cyclone Amphan killed 99 people in West Bengal and affected lakhs.