Cyclone Tauktae: Mumbai airport shut, train services disrupted

Mumbai Rains
Vehicles ply at on a road at Colaba amid a heavy due to Cyclone Tauktae, in Mumbai, Monday, May 17, 2021.Photo: PTI

Mumbai: The city's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), which had earlier decided to keep all operations shut till 4 pm on Monday in view of the cyclone alert, has now extended the closure period to 6pm.

As the result of the cyclone alert, the closure of the operations at the airport has now been further extended till 1800 hours (6pm) on May 17, CSMIA said in its latest operations update.

After announcing the suspension of all flight service at the facility from 11am to 2pm, initially, the private airport later extended it to 4pm.

Further, three city-bound flights operated by budget carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet were diverted due to the closure of all services at the city airport.

A city-bound IndiGo flight was diverted to Hyderabad and a SpiceJet flight to Surat, while one IndiGo flight was sent back to Lucknow, as per CSMIA.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an orange alert for Mumbai, warning of very heavy rains at isolated places with strong winds on Monday as cyclone Tauktae is likely to pass close to the Mumbai coast.

Heavy rains and gusts due to Cyclone Tauktae, at Vashi in Navi Mumbai, Monday, May 17, 2021. Photo: PTI

Gusty winds and rains lashed Mumbai and its neighbouring areas overnight and on Monday morning as the cyclonic storm was heading towards Gujarat, officials said.

Traffic affected

In view of the strong winds, the Bandra-Worli sea-link was closed for traffic and people were asked to take alternate routes, a senior official of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said.

The Colaba area in south Mumbai recorded a wind speed of 102 km per hour around 11am, the highest for the day so far, IMD Mumbai's senior director Shubhangi Bhute said.

Between 8:30am and 11am, the IMD's Colaba observatory (representative of south Mumbai) recorded 79.4 mm rainfall, while the Santacruz observatory (representative of suburbs) recorded 44.5 mm rain, she said.

Local trains services of the Central Railway were disrupted between suburban Ghatkopar and Vikhroli for about half-an-hour as a tree fell on an overhead wire while a train was heading towards neighbouring Thane, a railway spokesperson said.

Services on the harbour line, that provides rail connectivity to Navi Mumbai, were also affected after a vinyl banner fell on an overhead wire between Chunabhatti and Guru Tej Bahadur stations around 11:45am.

The banner was removed after about half-an-hour and train services were resumed, he said.

Due to the strong wind, some plastic sheets covering the roof of the common passenger area between the suburban and main lines at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) were blown away in the morning, he said.


The area was cordoned off and the railway staff immediately attended to it, he said.

Despite the civic body's claims of drains having been cleaned as part of preparedness for the upcoming monsoon season, there was water-logging in several low-lying areas of the city.

The Mumbai police tweeted about water-logging in six low-lying areas, including the Hindmata junction, Andheri subway and Malad Subway, crucial for the east-west connectivity.

A citizen in a Twitter post claimed a temporary pandal erected for vaccination in Dahisar was partially damaged due to the heavy rain and high velocity winds. However, civic officials did not confirm it.

As a precautionary measure, the monorail services in the city were suspended for the day, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) said.

This was a "prompt decision" taken for the safety of commuters, the MMRDA said.

Earlier in the morning, KS Hosalilar, head SID, Climate Research & Services, IMD Pune in a tweet said, "#TauktaeCyclone. Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm now. Mumbai 160 km Veraval Guj 290 km Take care ...North Konkan, Mah coast and Guj."

The IMD forecast moderate to intense spells of rain with gusty winds reaching 90-100 kmph are likely to occur at isolated places in Raigad, Palghar, Mumbai, Thane and Ratnagiri districts.

According to civic officials, around 34 incidents of tree fall were reported in Mumbai since Sunday, but there no report of any injury to anyone.

The civic-run Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) undertaking has deployed officers of its transport and power wings at various locations, including control rooms for disaster management.

On Sunday, the IMD issued an orange alert for Mumbai, predicting heavy to very heavy rains at isolated places with strong winds on Monday.

According to civic officials, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the Indian Navy were on alert as Cyclone Tauktae intensified to a very severe cyclonic storm and was passing close to Mumbai.

Six flood rescue teams of the Mumbai fire brigade were deployed at chowpatties and five temporary shelters each were kept ready in 24 civic wards of the city to shift citizens there if required, they said.

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