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Rain it in

Don’t let the incessant rain dampen that famous Mumbai spirit. Use apps, Twitter, Facebook and websites to reduce commuting woes.

lifestyle Updated: Jun 19, 2013 15:32 IST
Sneha Mahale

When it rains, it pours. If you’ve lived in Mumbai long enough, then you probably swear by this age-old proverb. Yet, every year, millions commute through flooded streets, traffic snarls, and brave the errant public system to get to work or head home. But if, like last week, the weather gets the better of you, here are a few tried and tested ways for you to stay afloat.

Chart it out
Gone are the days when weather forecasts in the city meant poking your head out of windows in the morning to check if the skies are clear or not. And the weatherman too seems to have his act together. Thanks to the installation of the Doppler radar, forecasts are more accurate.

Now you too can don your amateur weatherman hat and check out images released by the Indian Meteorological Department on imdmumbai.gov.in. offering satellite as well as Doppler radar images. You can also check city forecasts for 24 to 48 hours, warnings to civic authorities and fishermen alike. Mumbaikars can use the information to make an informed decision on how much rain to expect, carry an umbrella or reinforced rain gear or even bunk work.

Rain check
A Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) initiative, mumbaimonsoon.com offers comprehensive information on rainfall at various spots in the city. Selection of place whose records you want to see can be done on the basis of location or weather station. So, for example, one could find out how much rain Andheri received in the last 15 minutes, an hour, three hours, six hours, 12 hours and even 24 hours. The website is updated every 15 minutes and even lists traffic conditions (road, rail and air), weather forecast for the city and tides, among others.

Details of BMC’s toll-free disaster control room helpline, 108, are also available.

Click to commute
Stuck near your office with autos and cabs refusing to ferry you home? Technology now comes to your rescue. Launched on Republic Day this year, Khaliseat.in not only encourage carpooling, it also supports autorickshaw and cab sharing. People register using their Facebook accounts and those commuting together split the cost between them as mutually decided. You could also try Zinghopper.in and Sharedcab.com.

On Zinghopper, you ask for companions if you are leaving for some place in the next hour while Sharedcab.com offers pick-ups in a chauffeur-driven AC car where you split the cost with fellow passengers. One could also try SmartMumbaikar, a Facebook app which offers a platform to start car, taxi and auto sharing services among friends and friends of friends. People also have the option of setting up routes and travelling with strangers.

Tweet treat
On your way to work when heavy rainfall leaves you and your car stranded in the middle of the road? Tweet it out to @TrafflineMum. The Twitter handle offers crowd-sourced updates of traffic snarls, water-logging, reports on high tide and routes to avoid. If that's not all, it also offers alternative routes that motorists can take to avoid jams and floods. The Twitter handle operates from 8 am to 9 pm, but in times of emergency, it does go beyond that set time.

App you like it
Though we hope you never have to use it, some apps could come to your aid during an emergency situation. For example, Mumbai Helpline contains contacts of major categories like ambulances, blood banks, 24x7 medical shops, hospitals, police and fire stations, electricity and railways. Users have to select a category, area, required option and call on that number by clicking on the phone icon. Mumbai SOS and ICE-Mumbai Police also offer similar options.

Total disaster
An initiative by MCGM, the Twitter handle @ccrsdmp was started with much fanfare. It was supposed to keep citizens updated about rainfall and traffic conditions in the city. However, in keeping with tradition, this promise too was forgotten. The handle has not been updated after October 2012 and doesn't look like it will take off ever again.