The city recorded pre-monsoon showers, with various locations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) receiving rain on Friday evening. The showers arrived two weeks earlier than last year, when the city recorded it first pre-monsoon rain on May 25, 2016. The weather department has predicted light showers in the evenings during the weekend.
The unseasonal rain threw services on the Central Railway (CR) out of gear during evening rush hour. The main reason for disruption of services on both the corridors was inadequate power supply, which halted trains for at least 30 minutes on the Harbour line and 40 minutes on the main line, from 7.40 pm onwards.
The weather bureau said Mulund, Chembur, Panvel, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan and Badlapur recorded light rain on Friday. No rain was recorded in south Mumbai until 8.30pm.
“Land heats up in the day. This combined with the availability of moisture from the Arabian Sea leads to the formation of clouds, which pave the way for thunderstorms, lightning and rain. While winds will be gusty, the amount of rain will be less and for a short duration,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, India Meteorological Department. “The systems for the pre-monsoon showers are local and fast dissipating systems will be developed only during the evening hours over the weekend.”
On the Harbour line, a power shortage between Mankhurd-Sanpada stations delayed services, while on the main line, the same problem was reported between Matunga-Kurla stations and Vidyavihar-Kanjurmang stations on northbound slow and fast tracks respectively.
As trains between these stations stopped, a cascading effect disrupted the entire timetable. A CR spokesperson said Harbour line services resumed around 8.10pm, while main line services started at 8.20pm, after power supply normalised.
“Due to heavy winds, thunder and lightning, the overhead wire was not holding power on th eSanpada-Mankhurd (UP/DN) Harbour Line , Matunga-Kurla DN slow line, Vidyavihar-Kanjurmarg DN fast line from 1940 hrs (7.40pm),” said the CR in a statement.
Commuters heard loud blasts from overhead wires when it started raining and a few seconds later the trains came to halt. “Lights and fans went off suffocating passengers,” said a commuter, who was stuck in a jam-packed fast train at Ghatkopar station.
It was a double whammy for Harbour line commuters because earlier in the day, suburban services on the line were held up for 30 minutes, because of a rail fracture between Chembur and Tilak Nagar stations, during morning peak hours. It had delayed suburban services by 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, day temperatures in both the suburbs and south Mumbai were close to normal as Colaba recorded 33.8 degrees Celsius, 0.3 degree Celsius above normal while 34.1 degrees Celsius was recorded at Santacruz, which was 0.7 degree Celsius above normal.
Night temperatures were a degree Celsius above normal at 27.8 degrees Celsius at south Mumbai while close to the normal mark at the suburbs at 25.9 degrees Celsius.
Moisture levels were high with 77% humidity at south Mumbai and 66% at the suburbs.