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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mumbai held its breath, but cyclone Phyan blew over

IT SCARED the maximum city literally out of its workplaces, but ended up as a calamity that never happened. The cyclonic storm 'Phyan', which threatened to hit Mumbai on Wednesday afternoon, crossed the western coast close to Mumbai, but spared the metropolis and weakened without causing any major damage. 

    But the threat of a menacingly approaching storm, caused by what the meteorological office termed as a "deep depression", created panic, elicited unusually prompt precautionary measures, and resulted, finally, in an unofficial holiday in Mumbai. With incessant showers lashing the metropolitan region, Konkan and several other parts of the state on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, the scare of the cyclone became too real for the BMC and state government to intervene early. The BMC ordered closure of all schools and colleges in Mumbai and the state governmentlater extended it to Thane also. 
    Even offices and workplaces, except those looking after essential services and civic duties, announced an early end to the day so that people could leave early. The railways and BEST
pressed into service additional local trains and buses to carry people home in the afternoon hours.However, the cyclone alert was withdrawn by evening. "The cyclonic storm has crossed the coast between M umbai and Alibaug at 1530-1630 hours and will further move towards north and north east. It is expected to weaken within the next six hours," IMD (Mumbai) Director Sati Devi said Due to continuous showers all through Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, there were traffic jams, overcrowding and flooding in different parts of the city. But the BMC advisory and public awareness — post-July 26, 2005 deluge — had the desired effect, with the city looking surprisingly deserted by late afternoon. 
    Incessant showers in the morning, the BMC advisory, a high-tide alert between 3 pm and 5 pm, a turbulent sea, all contributed to forcing people out of work
places early. The two main suburban railway stations — Churchgate and CST — were crowded by afternoon, much before the usual peak time of 6.30 - 8.30 pm. 
    Continuous rains also lashed Pune, most parts of Western Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Nashik, affecting normal life and damaging crops, mainly cotton and grapes. The Met department has predicted heavy to very heavy showers in the city on Thursday as well.

The Mumbai sea front perfectly reflected the stormy day, while fliers faced delays and cricket lovers a washout.


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