With landfall process of Cyclone 'Nisarga' afoot and expected to continue for at least three hours hitting coastal districts of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa, National Disaster Response Force chief S.N. Pradhan on Wednesday said the evacuation work was nearly complete with 43 teams of the NDRF on the job.
The cyclone was moving along the predicted path announced by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the science of cyclone building up was evident in the southern district of Maharashtra, Pradhan added.
In Ratnagiri -- a port town in Maharashtra -- the NDRF Director General said the waves have gone high and the winds and rain have picked up.
The landfall began a little after 1 p.m. just south of Alibaug coastal town of Raigad district as was predicted.
Earlier Pradhan had said "The cyclone was expected to make landfall sometime in the afternoon between 2 pm and 4.30 pm." A total of 43 NDRF teams were deployed on the job and the evacuation work was complete in all respects, he stated then.
Of the 43 NDRF teams, 40 are deployed and three are reserved. Eighteen of these have been deployed in Gujarat, 21 in Maharashtra, two in Daman and Diu, and two in Dadar and Nagar Haveli. Most of the teams had been deployed in coastal districts facing the Arabian Sea.
"Further, precautionary measures have also been taken and people in cyclone shelters are being taught life skills with social distancing," Pradhan said. "I believe, all the preparations are in order for us to face the cyclone whether from the central agencies or the state agencies side. The coordination is of a high order. Let us hope that we are right through the cyclone."
Nisarga comes days after the eastern coast was battered by Amphan. The cyclone is likely to cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts between Harihareshwar town in the Raigad district and Daman as a severe cyclonic storm.
After May 1961, Nisarga will be the first cyclone to hit Maharashtra coast in June. As per predictions, Maharashtra coastal districts, like Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Thane, Raigad, Mumbai and Palgarh will also be affected.
The weather bureau has sounded red alert for at least seven coastal districts of Maharashtra, while several districts along Gujarat's coast are also expecting heavy rainfall.