Heavy downpour throws Mumbai out of gear; many stranded

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on August 29, 2017

In deep waters People were stranded on a waterlogged street near Dadar in Mumbai on Tuesday PTI

All three suburban rail lines affected; airport operations partially hit

Mumbai’s residents were on Tuesday reminded of the devastating floods of 2005, as torrential rains threw life in the metropolitan region completely out of gear.

There were no reports of any accidental deaths.

The city’s three suburban rail lines were affected, stranding lakhs of passengers. The roads were also blocked, with flooding reported in many areas. At the time of going to press, the Colaba weather observatory had recorded 65 mm of rain and Santacruz, 297.6 mm of rainfall.

On July 26, 2005, Mumbai had recorded its heaviest-ever 24-hour rainfall of 944 mm.

Deputy Director General of Meteorology KS Hosalikar told BusinessLine that the current weather system is active and spread over Maharashtra and Gujarat. The region, especially North Konkan and North Madhya Maharashtra, will continue to get heavy rains until Wednesday afternoon. The weather system will remain active for three days.

Hosalikar, who is also the Head (Western Region) Regional Meteorological Centre, said that during the 2005 rains, the Santacruz observatory received about 70 per cent of the rainfall in three hours. In comparison, Tuesday’s rain was distributed over a longer period. “The winds remain gusty. But it is not a typhoon kind of wind. This weather system is good for Maharashtra and especially for the rain-starved Marathwada region,” he said.

Across the city, heavy traffic jams were reported on all major roads, including the Eastern and Western Express Highway, the Sion-Panvel Highway and LBS Marg. Water-logging was reported in the low-lying areas of Parel, Sion and Hindmata.

The Bandra-Worli Sea Link had to be shut due to rains and heavy winds. Many subways were also shut down due to water-logging.

Operations at Mumbai airport were partially affected due to low visibility and strong winds.

Rainwater also flooded the King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, forcing authorities to vacate the paediatric and general medicine wards.

A leading surgeon at KEM Hospital said the MCGM should have been more proactive in removing garbage and cleaning the drains. The flooding of the hospital could lead to more infections to the admitted patients.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked Mumbaikars to stay indoors and step out only if necessary. He has asked people to tweet or call Mumbai Police for help.

An officer of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) told BusinessLine that at 14 locations across the city had reported rains over 100 mm which resulted in heavy flooding.

To fight the flood waters, 26 ultra heavy duty pumps with a capacity to pump out 600 litres of water per second have been deployed. Regular pumps at 230 locations also been stationed. The MCGM management with the State Government is monitoring the situation with CCTV cameras. All senior officers have been ordered to maintain stations until further orders, the officer said.

Dr. Rita Savla of the RADHEE Disaster and Education Foundation said that compared to 2005 floods, today's situation is much better due to better communications and regular updates from the State Government using platforms such as Twitter. People are better informed about the situation. However people who were stuck in offices should have been advised to remain in their offices as their movement on the roads is leading to traffic jams, she said.

(With inputs from Urvashi Valecha)

Published on August 29, 2017
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