Cyclone Nisarga hits Maharashtra

Sunset after Cyclone Nisarga

Cyclone Nisarga was set to hit Mumbai yesterday. It was the first cyclone in 129 years to hit the city, and came close on the heels of Cyclone Amphan that hit the East coast of India a couple of weeks ago

What does ‘nisarga’ mean? It means ‘the cosmos’.

People were ‘battening down the hatches’ (preparing for the strorm, securing and tying down things that could fly away) for a couple of days before it hit. We checked our windows to make sure they were secure and could be shut tight, moved in any loose furniture from our balconies and verandahs (the winds can get so strong that they can carry off anything that is loose!), collected drinking water, kept flashlights and candles ready, stocked up on some food, and were ready for it. While we did get very strong winds and heavy rains, Mumbai was ultimately spared the brunt of the cyclone that hit Raigad and Alibag hard.

What about those who are stranded during the government lockdown on Maharashtra and trying to get home on buses and trains and don’t have places to stay? They found places to take shelter, and good samaritans got food and water to them as they have been doing for the past weeks.

How about those who live near the sea? Officials moved many people who live close to the sea into temporary shelters to keep them safe.

What are the different kinds of tropical storms?

Hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon. We just use different names for these tropical storms in different places.

When they occur in the Atlantic and Northeast Pacific they are called hurricanes. The same storm in the Northwest Pacific is called a typhoon.  In the South Pacific and Indian Oceans, they are called cyclones.

How do these tropical storms form?

Tropical storms need a lot of heat to form, which is why they usually occur over warm waters near the equator. The sun is close to the equator, providing energy to heat the ocean.

-Warm waters heat the air above it causing it to rise or evaporate.

-The moist, warm air moves up rapidly and leaves a vacuum near the surface.

-Another way to say the same thing is that the warm air rises, causing an area of lower air pressure below.

-Cool air from surrounding areas with higher air pressure rushes into the low-pressure area. Then that “new” air becomes warm and moist and rises, too. 

-As the air rises it cools, condenses and forms towering cumulonimbus clouds.

-As the cycle continues, the rapidly rising air creates an area of intense low pressure and the surrounding air swirls in, causing very strong winds. The whole system of clouds and wind swirls and grows, boosted by the ocean’s heat.

Once the storm moves over land it starts to lose energy and fades.

New Straits Times

These tropical storms bring strong violent winds, a deluge of rain, and huge waves from the ocean. As these storms move from water to land they often cause damage to homes and cities.

Luckily we have meteorologists. They are scientists who study the atmosphere. Amongst other things they predict the weather and inform us when a powerful storm is likely to come our way.  They use Satellite images and computer modeling help to predict the storm’s intensity and path of travel or trajectory of the storm.

Fun Fact: Did you know the center of the storm is called the “eye.”?  The eye is actually the part of the storm with the calmest conditions!

Send in your pictures of the cyclone, or just after, to: for a chance to have them published on our website!


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