Believe it or not, the effects of climate change are real and too evident for us to ignore. Cyclone Ockhi being one of the many effects of the same. The analysts have termed it as a “very severe cyclonic storm”. A low pressure area was created over the Gulf of Thailand eventually becoming a depression. As the winds moved towards India and Sri Lanka they were supported by warm temperatures and moisture in the Arabian Sea. The IMD upgraded it from a deep depression to a cyclonic storm and it became a full-fledged cyclone by November 30th.
Inspite of several international warnings of a cyclonic storm in Sri Lanka, the Meteorology Department did not issue a notice and all the reports were rubbished. The cyclone originated near Sri Lanka over the Bay of Bengal on November 23rd. Matara, Galle, Ambalangoda and Colombo, were the worst affected and experienced power outages, property damage, road blockages and poor visibility due to rains. On 30th November, a Red Alert was issued. So far, there have been 14 deaths and 77 injured people.
By 30th November, Maldives had issued a Yellow Alert, discouraging any kind of unnecessary sea travel. Almost 14 separate incidents in the Maldivian seas were reported along with property and household damage in 62 islands. By 3rd December, atleast 36 islands had experienced floods due to heavy rainfall. The yellow alert was lifted on Saturday morning.
After Maldives, Kerala and Tamil Nadu had started receiving heavy rainfall by December 1 due to the cyclone. By evening, reports of severe infrastructural damage had started coming in. 15 people were reported dead in Kerala and 5 in Tamil Nadu, with over 250 fishermen missing. Trees and electric poles were uprooted causing several power cuts. Rescue operations had begun in full force on December 2.
After hitting the southern states, the cyclone made a landfall in Lakswadeep. By the afternoon of December 2, fishermen in Lakshadweep were advised to not venture out into the sea and in a few hours, rescue operations had started. Minicoy, Kalpeni, and Kavaratti, the 3 major islands of Lakshadweep were severely affected with uprooted coconut trees and electric poles. The island has suffered a loss of more than ₹ 200 crore.
By 4th December, the cyclone had reached the western coast, bringing heavy rains to Mumbai and Goa. Several beach shacks were damaged due to severe floods. In Mumbai, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a rain and thunderstorm warning and some parts of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway experienced hailstorm causing the traffic to slow down.
However, much to the relief of people in Mumbai, the cyclone just brought rains and caused no damage to life and property.
By Tuesday, the cyclone reached Gujarat causing mild rainfall, without causing any major damages. The cyclone is expected to bring in strong winds by 5th and 6th December and hit the southern part of Gujarat.
As a precautionary measure, approximately 1,600 people were also shifted to safer locations.