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How Aila stole city monsoon’s thunder

Cyclone Aila — that left 300 dead and a trail of devastation in West Bengal — has taken the wind out of Mumbai’s monsoon, reports Soubhik Mitra.

india Updated: Jun 12, 2009 01:22 IST
Soubhik Mitra

Cyclone Aila — that left 300 dead and a trail of devastation in West Bengal — has taken the wind out of Mumbai’s monsoon.

The city will have to wait for at least another week for the first monsoon showers. For now, rain clouds are stuck over Ratnagiri, 330 km south of Mumbai.

“Cyclone Aila seems to have stolen the energy from the monsoon winds. This has made the monsoon current extremely weak. It’s struggling to advance northward,” said K. Satidevi, director of the Indian Meteorological Department, Mumbai. “We do not expect rains in the city for over a week from now.”

The monsoon touched Kerala on May 23, eight days ahead of schedule. Cyclone Aila hit the shores of the country two days later.

According to weather reports, the fast-moving monsoon winds lost momentum after reaching Karwar, near Mangalore. On June 7, rain clouds entered the Konkan region.

However, since then the monsoon is stuck over Ratnagiri and there is little chance of it advancing towards Mumbai till a week. The weather department will be issuing a monsoon alert 48 hours before it is expected to hit the city.

The delay in rain could intensify water woes in the city. With receding water levels in lakes, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has already imposed a 10 per cent water cut, which might be increased to 20 per cent. The civic body supplies 3,100 million litres of water a day (MLD) as against the demand of 4,200 MLD.