Cyclone Phyan roared toward India's western coast Wednesday as authorities sounded an alert and shut schools and offices in anticipation of its blustery arrival.
Hundreds of fishermen were ordered to turn back as Phyan stormed in from the Arabia Sea, nearly 155 miles southwest of Mumbai, India's financial and entertainment capital, said Gopal Chandal, a spokesman for the fishing community.
Rain started lashing parts of western India and was expected to pick up intensity with the wind speed touching up to 55 miles per hour as the cyclone hits coastal areas Wednesday night, the India Meteorological Department said.
In Mumbai, municipal authorities closed schools and offices three hours early Wednesday. However, air and train services remained unaffected so far.
In neighboring Gujarat state, authorities kept vigil in 175 villages in 12 coastal districts and considered evacuating thousands of people to safe areas, said Ranjit Banerjee, a state official dealing with disaster management.
Banerjee said there was a possibility of the cyclone veering off in another direction in the Arabian Sea or losing strength as it traveled inland after hitting central Maharashtra state and southern parts of Gujarat.