What Protects Mumbai From Cyclones?
Have you heard of a cyclone heading towards Mumbai? In living memory such a thing has not happened. The last cyclone which came Mumbai's way is widely believed to have been the super cyclone of 1882. It is said to have claimed close to 100,000 lives. However, others have disputed this claim and assert that cyclone Nisarga would be the first to head close to Mumbai.
Mumbai has traditionally escaped the path of cyclones in the Arabian Sea. The Maximum City does not lie in the direction of guiding winds which steer cyclones. These winds blow above the surface of the earth in the middle layer of atmosphere and steer cyclones in certain directions. They tend to make up the upper layer of the atmosphere, according to weather experts.
Cyclones which form in the Arabian Sea tend to be steered by the winds towards Oman, Yemen or Somalia in Africa. They tend to be driven towards the Arabian Peninsula or at times can strike the coastal belt of Gujarat. However, cyclones do not normally form near coasts and Mumbai is insulated from cyclonic storms in this aspect, as well.
In June, most storms in the Arabian Sea tend to move in the direction of Gujarat, some meteorologists assert.
Mumbai has traditionally been protected from cyclones also because of high air pressure which cyclones follow and hence they go past Mumbai and in some cases turn towards Gujarat. The most recent such example was that of cyclone Vayu of 2019.
What has changed then? Experts point out that global warming and climate change are altering the patterns of cyclones and hence the threat to Mumbai from this storm.