Coastal Maharashtra braces for cyclone Ockhi side-effects

Mumbai, Dec 4: With cyclone 'Ockhi' expected to make a landfall in south Gujarat later on Monday or early Tuesday, Maharashtra went on a state of high alert to tackle the side-effect of the stormy weather.

Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde announced a "precautionary holiday' on Tuesday (December 5) for all schools in the coastal districts of Palghar, Thane, Mumbai, Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, in view of the predictions for the cyclone.

After a heavily overcast day on Monday, Mumbai and surrounding districts had intermittent rainfall since dusk which continued, slowing down road traffic but the lifeline of the city, the local trains continued unhindered.

The IMD has already forecast rains with thundershowers in and around Mumbai with squalls reaching 50-60 kmph and touching 70 kmph in the coastal areas over the next two days, with minimum temperatures hovering around 23 degrees Celsis.

Danger signals LC-III have been hoisted over all ports between Goa to Dahanu (north Maharashtra), with rough to very rough conditions in the sea.

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation and the state Disaster Management Unit and the railways were fully geared for the cyclonic encounter expected over the next couple of days.

Western Railway PRO Ravinder Bhakar said that an emergency meeting of all departments was convened and they will remain on the water levels on the railway tracks, the Railway Protection Force and commercial staff will monitor crowd movements, especially in the areas of Palghar which have been placed on alert.

"Disaster Management Cell is in readiness for any emergencies, patrolling of the railway tracks has been intensified over various rail sections, and the RPF and commercial staff will be prepared for necessary evacuation at respective stations in case of any disaster-like situation," he said.