Schools shut as rain inundates Mumbai; traffic crawls, trains delayed

Schools were shut in Mumbai on Wednesday as heavy rains continued to lash the city for the second day causing water-logging, traffic jams and slowing down trains during the morning peak hour commute. The Met office has warned of heavy rain in the city today and tomorrow.

“In wake of IMD’s warning of heavy rainfall for rest of the day, schools shall remain closed today. Principals of schools where students are already in, are requested to take precautions and ensure that they are sent back home carefully and safely,” Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation PRO said, according to news agency ANI.

The city and suburbs witnessed incessant rainfall from Monday night through to Wednesday morning. The intensity of rain reduced marginally during the day on Tuesday but resumed towards the evening. The weather bureau has predicted heavy rain with intermittent spells of very heavy rain in isolated areas for the next four days.

South Mumbai recorded more rain than the suburbs over the last 24 hours. Colaba weather observatory recorded 122mm while Santacruz recorded 118.3mm during this time. Thane recorded 173mm, Palghar 192mm, Dahanu 100.1mm, Harnai 115.3mm, Alibaug 93mm, and most areas within the Mumabi Metropolitan Region recorded rainfall above 100mm over the last 24 hours. From 8.30am Monday to 8.30am Tuesday, Mumbai suburbs had recorded 130.4mm rain while south Mumbai recorded 80mm.

The weather bureau categorises rainfall above 64.4mm in a 24-hour period as ‘heavy’, and between 115.6mm to 204.4mm as ‘very heavy’.

According to traffic police on the Western Express Highway traffic jam was reported from Carnival Cinema at Borivali east to JVLR junction in the morning making it difficult for officer goers to reach on time as the estimated travel time was more than 2 hours.

The movement of local trains slowed down due to water logging in the tracks at various locations, besides technical problems. According to commuters, water logging was seen on tracks at Thane, Kanjur Marg, Sion, Chunabhatti, Nalasopara and other locations.

Railway administration said the water was at a safe level . “Water level is below rail level,” said Shivaji Sutar, chief spokesperson of CR. He added that the trains are running 10-12 minutes delay due to heavy rain and poor visibility.

Central Railway’s (CR) main line and Harbour line services are running 20-30 minutes late . Even Western Railway services between Vasai-Virar is running 15-20 minutes late.

“There are currently four weather factors leading to intense widespread rainfall over Mumbai, Thane, Raigad and Panvel,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general western region, IMD. “A low pressure area over the Odisha coast which has intensified monsoon conditions along the west coast combined with two cyclonic circulations – one over northeast Arabian Sea and one over central India. Lastly, an easy west wind sheer is further enhancing westerly winds leading to heavy rain.”

For the past three months, heavy to very heavy rain spells have been witnessed during the first week of every month, which helped the city surpass its seasonal and annual average rainfall. Apart from rain over past 48 hours, three spells of extremely heavy rain days this monsoon included – July 1 and 2 when 375.2mm was recorded in 24 hours, 219.2mm from July 26 to July 27, and 204mm between August 3 and 4 – all identified as ‘extreme rainfall’ events

Mumbai has so far recorded 2,865.3mm rain since the beginning of the season and the weather bureau expects the city will surpass the 3,000mm mark by the end of the week as more rain has been predicted.

Independent meteorologists said rain intensity was likely to reduce from Friday onwards. “There is a low-pressure system over the northern part of the Bay of Bengal and a weaker low-pressure over the northern part of the Arabian Sea. In addition, the off-shore trough is active leading to rainfall enhancement in MMR since early Tuesday. Intermittent showers will continue in this week with isolated spells of heavy showers,” said Akshay Deoras, meteorologist and PhD researcher, University of Reading, UK.

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