The weekend’s high energy sea surge left North Goa’s beaches in a state of fear, confusion and complete disarray. India meteorological department (IMD), Panaji, had issued a high wave alert following inputs by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad, about the storm surge for two days on April 21 and 22. But on Sunday, the agency extended the warning by two more days till Tuesday.
Sea surge made water levels rise even higher on Monday
According to news reports, the sea surge was worse on Monday as compared to those on Saturday and Sunday. Shack owners were reminded of similar weather phenomena that occurred in early December last year thanks to Cyclone Ockhi.
The sea surge was extremely bad on Sunday. The beach stretch from Morjim right up to Keri saw high waves slam down. While the beach shacks on Morjim, Arambol, Mandrem seemed to escape with minimal damages, Keri beach bore the brunt of the high energy waves. Chairs, tables, and deck beds were seen floating in the aftermath of the waves hitting the shacks.
Monday was far worse. Sources say that the sea level rose even higher, swamping beach beds and rattling traditional shacks. Tourism activities were thrown out of gear and stakeholders suffered losses, especially in North Goa. The high tide is believed to have risen 1.95m at 5.44pm on Monday. The sea surge continued on, driven by the rough sea and strong wind till around 7 pm. The water rushed through shacks located closer to the high tide line on the North Goa beaches.
Tourism stakeholders taken by surprise at the sea surge
“The beach beds were the first to be flooded, causing some anxiety among shack operators,” a tourism stakeholder in Morjim said.
“The water entered the shacks on Monday. The shack basements were damaged as flooding occurred for two hours as against half hour on Sunday and our business suffered,” said Wilson Monteiro, a shack owner from Arambol.
Beach shack owners had to suspend their business over the past 3 days. The strong sea surge left them collecting equipment and furniture like tables, chairs and deck beds as well as evacuating their customers to safety when the waves hit. Watersports activities were also stopped completely after the warning was issued.
In South Goa, many shack owners have already dismantled their shacks. “The water level rose on Sunday but we have already dismantled our shacks,” Edwin Barreto, a Cavelossim shack owner said.
The ramponkars had anchored their fishing vessels in the sea. “But due to a prior warning, they hauled them up,” Navidade D’Costa, a Cavelossim resident said.
South Goa beach shacks were relatively safe thanks to being warned in time. But according to locals, the season has been bad since the onslaught of Cyclone Ockhi. The taxi operators strike also contributed in a major way to this problem.
Information credit – TOI