A cyclone alert has been sounded across north Maharashtra and south Gujarat, besides coastal areas, by the Meteorological Department, in the wake of a deep depression over the Arabian Sea.
The cyclonic storm, referred by the IMD as Phyan, was likely to intensify further and move towards south Gujarat and north Maharashtra coast, between Alibagh and Valsad, by late evening on Wednesday, warned the IMD.
Cyclone Phyan, with a wind-speed of approximately 102 km per hour, will hit Mumbai at approximately 5.30 pm, warned experts.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has convened an emergency meeting to discuss the situation. Cyclone Phyan is currently located 130 km west of Ratnagiri, Maharashtra and it is expected to move northwards.
Authorities have urged the residents of low-lying areas in Mumbai to vacate their houses and move to safer locations.
Schools across Mumbai have been shut and students have been asked to go back home, in view of the impending cyclone.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has asked colleges to shut early. Government offices will shut at 2 pm.
The Met office has advised fishermen not to venture out to sea in Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
The Disaster Management Cell has been put on alert. Phyan has been declared a Level 6 Cyclone, said IMD officials.
They have also warned that Mumbai and Thane districts will receive heavy to very heavy rains for the next 24 hours. The IMD has predicted 'extremely heavy rainfall' in south Gujarat.
Squally winds reaching speeds of 55-65 kmph, gusting to 75 kmph, are likely to commence along and off the south Gujarat and Kerala coasts, besides Lakshadweep, from today. It will hit Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra coasts during the next 48 hours.