NEW DELHI: Severe cyclone Nisarga pounded the Maharashtra coast as it made landfall on Wednesday, with wind speeds of up to 120 kmph, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The cyclone began its landfall close to south of Alibagh in the Raigad district of Maharashtra around 1 pm. The landfall process will likely take three hours to complete during which time the cyclone would enter Mumbai and Thane.

“The centre of the cyclone is very close to Maharashtra coast and its northeast sector is entering into land,” said IMD.

Heavy rains continue to lash the coastal areas, with winds of 100-110 kmph causing damage in the low lying areas. Goa reported very heavy rainfall of 127 mm in last 24 hours as the cyclone passed close to the coast. Ratnagiri has received over 30 mm rainfall in last four hours.

Scientists tracking the cyclone from Doppler Weather Radars at Mumbai and Goa, said the eye of the storm is roughly 65 km. According to IMD, coastal districts of Raigad, Mumbai, Thane, Palgarh in Maharashtra, along with Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Bhavnagar, Bharuach districts of Gujarat, and Daman and Dadra and Nagar Haveli are likely to bear the maximum impact of the cyclone.

After the landfall, Nisarga is expected to maintain the intensity of cyclonic storm for next six hours and continue moving north-northeastwards across north Madhya Maharashtra. It will bring strong winds of 60-70 kmph gusting upto 80kmph over Pune, Ahmadnagar and adjoining Beed, Nashik and Aurangabad districts of Maharashtra.

As many as 40 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the state and UT and more are being airlifted. Ships of the coast guard are have been rescuing fishermen at sea.

“Cyclone Nisarga could severely test the climate resilience of infrastructure in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra and Gujarat. Given our vulnerability to climate change, the tail-end risks of today could become more frequent and more intense in future. It’s time we develop a granular understanding of climate risks at the state, district, and city levels. We need to evolve our emergency preparedness beyond “disaster management,” said Arunabha Ghosh, chief executive officer, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)

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