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Heavy rains cripple Mumbai yet again; schools shut, flights and train services hit

Mumbai city authorities recorded 15 waterlogged areas, 11 wall collapses, 23 tree-fall incidents, 32 electrical short-circuits, in addition to the cancellation of several suburban train services.

mumbai Updated: Jul 09, 2018 19:48 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Mumbai rains,Mumbai rains today,Mumbai rains forecast
Waterlogging at Thane station near Mumbai on July 9, 2018(HT Photo)

It was déjà vu for Mumbai on Monday. Six days after a torrential downpour led to the fall of a key pedestrian bridge in suburban Mumbai which, in turn, resulted in the suspension of three-quarters of western railway’s suburban services and created traffic havoc, India’s financial capital and its surrounding districts were in for another rude shock on Monday following another round of intense rainfall that crippled the city’s transportation operations and left lakhs stranded.

City authorities recorded 15 waterlogged areas, 11 wall collapses, 23 tree-fall incidents, 32 electrical short-circuits, in addition to the cancellation of several suburban train services. No casualty was recorded. On average, trains on the three major lines in the city were delayed by up to 30 minutes after normal services resumed at 4 pm, but by then, most office-goers and students had decided to stay at home. The state education minister Vinod Tawade declared a holiday for educational institutions via a tweet posted at 11.33 am. The state government declared a half-day for its employees, and allowed personnel to return home in the post-lunch session.

Mumbai’s airports, too, bore the brunt of the heavy rain. Juhu Aerodrome had to be shut due to bad weather and waterlogging on the runway. All offshore operations and chartered flights were cancelled, and a notice to airmen was issued at 3 pm. Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (both domestic and international terminals) faced a delay of around 30 minutes. Some airlines announced a waiver for passengers who could not reach on time and assured them of seats the next day.

On Saturday evening – another heavy-rain day – a 40-year-old woman in Kalyan died after the two-wheeler on which she was sitting pillion hit a pothole, resulting in the vehicle skidding under a private bus, which ran over her, killing her instantly. The CCTV footage of the incident became public on Monday.

Between 8.30 am on Sunday and 8.30 am on Monday, south Mumbai recorded 170.6mm of rain while the suburbs recorded 122 mm. Both these numbers fall in the weather department’s “very heavy” rainfall category. From 8.30 am till 5.30 pm, south Mumbai recorded a further 104.8mm of rainfall while the suburbs received 75.9mm. According to the weather department’s classification, 15.6mm to 64.4mm of rain is considered ‘moderate’, 64.5mm to 115.5mm is ‘heavy’, 115.6mm to 204.4mm is ‘very heavy’ and more than 204.5mm is ‘extreme’. Dahanu in Palghar district – which adjoins Mumbai in the north – recorded 354mm of rain between Sunday and Monday.

A bus stranded at Hindmata in Mumbai. (HT Photo/ Bhushan Koyande)

The reason for the two-day downpour seems to be “an upper air anti-cyclonic circulation weather system over Arabian Sea, a similar weather system over Bay of Bengal adjoining the east coast, and feeble offshore trough is allowing the monsoon current to be active over the north Konkan coast, including Mumbai,” according to Ajay Kumar, a scientist at the Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Mumbai regional office. “We expect heavy to very heavy rain with isolated extremely heavy spells over Mumbai and surrounding areas till Wednesday,” he said. Dr Kumar said rain warnings have been issued to state and city administrations, including Mumbai’s transport agencies.

Disaster Management team in rubber boats reaching a village in Vasai. (HT Photo)

Sunday’s and Monday’s rainfall took the season’s rainfall total for Mumbai to 1438.8mm. Over the four monsoon months of June to September, Mumbai receives an average of 2260mm of rain. Its annual average is 2373mm. Significantly, south Mumbai and the suburbs have respectively recorded 47% and 74% excess rain this year, according to the IMD.

First Published: Jul 09, 2018 18:55 IST