Rain, woes back in the city with full power

Mumbai: 25 July, 2019 (Hindustan Times)

TROUBLE SPILLS OVER-NIGHT At 173.6mm, island city gets its highest 24-hour rainfall this season; Mumbaiites hassled as waterlogging disrupts road, rail traffic

Very heavy overnight rain in south and central Mumbai gave the island city its highest 24-hour rainfall this season, 173.6mm, but also brought back the city’s usual woes – waterlogging, traffic snarls and disrupted train services. Of the 173.6mm, 172mm was recorded within six hours from 11.30pm on Tuesday and 5.30am on Wednesday.

The clear blue skies of Tuesday gave way to dark clouds and heavy rainfall in the city on Wednesday.

MESS ON ROADS

Severe waterlogging was reported in Sion, Dadar, Parel, Hindmata, Kurla, Chembur, Khar, Malad, King’s Circle and Matunga. The south-bound stretch towards Sion, near Gandhi Market, was one of the worsthit. The travel time on the western express highway (WEH) on the stretch between Goregaon and Andheri was more than two hours, said motorists. The Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and other arterial roads leading to WEH were also blocked and a part of Gulmohar Road in Juhu caved in, leading to its closure.

There was major congestion towards Vashi toll naka, LBS Road and eastern express highway too. Commuters also complained that the diversion for the closure of the main arterial road connecting SV Road and Link Road was not announced earlier. A broken down truck in the middle of Santacruz-Chembur Link Road (SCLR) slowed down traffic.

Meanwhile, SV Road, from Khar towards Bandra Railway Colony, was closed owing to waterlogging. The traffic police diverted vehicles from Linking Road towards Mahim.

Landslides were reported at Goregaon and Ghatkopar, but no injuries were reported. The disaster management of the BMC reported 12 incidents of short circuit, 17 tree falls and six slab collapses.

TRAINS DISRUPTED

Heavy showers also slowed down the train movement on Central Railway (CR) between Sion and Thane. Western Railway services were briefly affected owing to glitches at Vasai and Marine Lines, but there was no major delay. Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) services, too, were hit by waterlogging, leading to diversions on more than 40 routes.

Troubled Mumbaiites took to Twitter to lash out at the authorities for lack of monsoon preparedness. Nikhil Desai, a citizen activist, said, “Despite the Gazdharbandh pumping station, which was expected to flush out rain water from western suburbs, being opened this year, waterlogging was witnessed in Santacruz and Khar. How will these pumping stations save the city during downpour, if they fail during regular showers?”

THE CAUSE

On Wednesday, moderate showers were recorded across south Mumbai and the suburbs, as Colaba recorded 37.4mm rain from 8.30am to 8.30pm, while Santacruz recorded 29.2mm during the same time. While the suburbs recorded 27% excess rain for the season so far, south Mumbai is deficient by 1.7%.

“On Tuesday night based on the weather synoptic situation, a heavy rain warning was issued to all authorities concerned. An upper air cyclonic circulation (UAC) over central Arabian Sea and coastal Maharashtra up to 4.5km above mean sea level was present. Under the influence of that system and active monsoon conditions, widespread heavy rain was received more in south Mumbai than the suburbs,” said Bishwambhar Singh, director, regional meteorological centre, IMD, Mumbai.

Independent weather experts said monsoon revival was strong over the north Konkan coast, including Mumbai. “As the offshore trough extending from Maharashtra to Kerala is going to strengthen, active monsoon conditions will continue in Mumbai and surrounding regions till July 28. During this period, heavy showers are expected, but the rainfall activity is expected to remain non-continuous,” said Akshay Deoras, meteorologist and PhD researcher at the department of meteorology, University of Reading, UK.