Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Mumbai Shut Due to cyclone phyan

Schools, colleges and government offices shut in Mumbai on Wednesday and government officials sounded an alert along India's western coast as a depression in the Arabian Sea intensified into a cyclonic storm.

Cyclone Phyan lay about 350 km south-southwest off Mumbai, and was moving in a north-northeasterly direction, said chief secretary of Maharashtra Johny Joseph.

Extra buses and trains have been pressed into service in the city to make sure residents reached home safely, he said.

"We are fully prepared. Disaster management cells are active and we have rescue and relief teams on standby," Joseph said.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea, and people living in low-lying areas have been asked to move.

Heavy to very heavy rains are expected, with wind speeds of about 80 km an hour, said Ajit Tyagi, director general of the Indian Meteorological Department.

"You can expect heavy rains, high wind speeds, rough seas and strong surges," he said, adding the storm was likely to cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coast late in the night.

At Mumbai's airport, the country's busiest, rain and windy conditions were causing delays of up to an hour, a spokesman said.

Mumbai cyclone phyan