Heavy winds, record single-day rainfall batter Mumbai

Published : August 06, 2020 14:55 IST

At Null Bazar in South Mumbai on August 4, after heavy rain lashed the city. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Cyclonic winds and heavy rainfall battered Mumbai on August 5. The fierce winds uprooted hundreds of trees, blew off signboards and shattered windows of buildings even as many areas of the city were submerged in flood water. Landslides on small hills caused extensive damage to roads. Thousands of commuters were stranded in dangerous conditions at stations and in the open as public transport came to a standstill and private vehicles were stuck on heavily flooded roads.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that the city’s observatories at Colaba (in South Mumbai) and Santa Cruz (North West Mumbai) registered 331.8 mm and 162.3 mm of rainfall respectively in the past 24 hours, the highest recorded in August since 1974. The wind speed recorded was 102 kmph and the high tide touched 4.4 metres. The weather department issued a red alert on August 4 and has asked citizens to stay indoors as rainfall is expected to be heavy for the next two days.

The IMD, in a statement, said the torrential rain surpassed the season’s average rainfall of 2,066 mm and 2,260.44 respectively in the two observatories for four months in just two months. From June 1 to August 6 the IMD recorded 2,404 mm rainfall in Colaba and 2,416.2 mm in Santa Cruz.

Among the worst affected is Dahanu, a coastal district neighbouring Mumbai. The district recorded 383 mm of rainfall in a single day, which the IMD says is the highest it has ever received in 75 years. High intensity winds ravaged the district with people losing their livelihood possessions such as fishing boats and farming material. The timely red alert helped prevent loss of lives.

The city, particularly the south Mumbai region witnessed scenes that were a throwback to the deluge in 2005 and 2017. One death from electrocution was reported. This June, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation installed I-FLOWS-Mumbai, a flood warning system in an effort to address the monsoon downpours. However, environmentalists have been crying themselves hoarse that the city’s planners need to understand that overconstruction and haphazard implementation of infrastructure projects such as the metro play a big role in causing waterlogging and landslides.

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