After a dry spell of three weeks, the heaviest rains in July hit Mumbai on Tuesday disrupting suburban train services, blocking roads and delaying flights in the financial capital.
In the rain that had set in from Monday night and continued between 8:30am and 12pm on Tuesday, the suburbs received 31.4 mm and south Mumbai received 11.3mm, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Between 8.30pm on Monday and 8.30am on Tuesday, Santacruz recorded 61mm while Colaba recorded 15.8mm of rain, it said.
As rainfall continued to lash the city, Mumbai has been put on high alert with a high tide of 3.98meters expected at 3:50pm. If heavy rainfall continues during the time period, citizens need to brace up for more woes.
Weathermen have predicted frequent spells of rain in the city and suburbs with sudden spells of isolated heavy rain during the day.
KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, IMD said, "The upper-air circulation over Gujarat and Rajasthan is responsible for the downpour. Heavy rain is expected over north Konkan and Gujarat. We expect the same to continue for the next 24 to 48 hours in Mumbai."
In the Palghar district adjoining neighbouring Thane, schools were shut due to heavy rains since Monday evening, officials said.
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Major roads, including LBS Road, SV Road and Link Road were heavily affected by waterlogging, the traffic police said.
Motorists travelling along the Western Express Highway were caught in slow-moving traffic as vehicle movement on both sides faced severe snarls. It took two hours to commute between Mira Road to Goregaon while travelling from the WEH.
"Waterlogging has been reported at Milan Subway, Mohammed Ali Road, King's Circle, Ram Nagar in Santacruz, near Sion Hospital, and also on the service roads along the Western Express Highway," said an officer from the Mumbai traffic police headquarters.
Link Road and LBS Road also faced waterlogging in several parts. A tree collapsed in Borivli (east) near the railway station, however, no injuries or casualties were reported.
Vehicular traffic was heavily affected on the Santacruz Chembur Link Road too. SCLR faced heavy traffic congestion due to waterlogging on the stretch. SV Road near Khar was the worst affected as buses were seen submerged in the water.
After a fire broke out in one of the shops in the basement of a shopping centre at Bandra (west), traffic on the Link Road was diverted to SV Road. It was brought under control and no one was reported to be injured or trapped as the fire started when the shops were yet to open for business, said fire officials. Eight fire engines, four water tankers and 1 ambulance were rushed to the shopping centre that also houses a KFC outlet in the three storey structure.
Some express trains of Western Railway were cancelled due to water-logging while local train services of Central Railway were suspended for a short while between Kurla and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) after tracks were submerged between Sion and Kurla. The heavy rains have affected the suburban train operations since morning.
Due to heavy rains and breaches between Palghar and Boisar, five express trains of Western Railway scheduled to leave Mumbai this morning were cancelled. Ahmedabad Express, Bandra-Surat Inter-city Express, Mumbai Central-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express, Mumbai Central-Porbundar Express and Bandra Terminus-Vapi passenger train were cancelled.
A 'point failure' reported at Bandra station resulted in the cancellation of some local train services on the western line and halting of services on two tracks.
The trains were running late 15 to 20 minutes on the western line.
"Efforts are on to restore the services," said Gajanan Mahatpurkar, senior PRO Western Railway.
Meanwhile, suburban trains services were suspended for nearly 10 minutes at around 10:15am between Kurla and CST after tracks submerged between Sion and Kurla, according to a statement by the Central Railway.
The CR's suburban services were also hit due to the heavy rains and running 15 to 20 minutes late.
"There has been no cancellation of Express trains on account of rains. However, our suburban services are running late by 15 to 20 minutes," said AK Singh, Central Railway PRO.
"There have been reports of water-logging on tracks near Kurla, Sion, Thane that have slowed down the speed of suburban trains," another official said.
Similar conditions were on seen at the airport with several flights were forced to abort landing at the last minute as the airstrip visibility fell amid heavy showers even as officials said low visibility could force further diversions.
Although the flights made a safe landing in their subsequent attempt, because of the weather-induced disruption many flights were also held up on the ground and some forced to circle above the airport.
"There have been four go-arounds (last minute aborted landings) and the average delay up to 20 minutes," said a Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) spokesperson.
Officials at the air traffic control (ATC) tower said that the airport might see some diversions if the visibility fails to improve.
"We are trying to avoid diversions. But flights running low of fuel cannot be made to hold above the airport for too long," said a senior ATC official requesting anonymity.
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