191mm rain in 24 hours maroons city, more intense showers predicted today

Kolkata: 18 August, 2019 (Times of India)

Kolkata received 191mm of rain in a little over 24 hours since Friday afternoon as heavy showers continued to pound the city through the night and well into Saturday morning, leaving neighbourhoods flooded and residents marooned. The quantum — more than half the city’s quota of August rainfall of 335 mm — also brought down the seasonal deficit from 44% to 28% in a day.

The situation could get even worse on Sunday since the cyclonic circulation that is triggering the current spell of rain is set to intensify into a low pressure bringing more heavy showers. The Met Office has predicted a particularly heavy spell in the city early on Sunday morning.

Life came to a virtual halt in the city on Saturday morning till the showers ceased briefly around 11.30am only to resume an hour and half later. With public transport turning scarce on waterlogged roads, hundreds of commuters were left stranded. Even though the rain ceased from later afternoon traffic crawled across the length and breadth of the city. It was particularly harrowing for residents of Behala and Kidderpore, where storm water entered homes. KMC operated over 250 pumps to drain out the water even as mayor Firhad Hakim and senior KMC officials visited drainage pumping stations to oversee operations.

The Met office warned of a heavy post-midnight spell in the city that could prolong the weather woes.

Heavy rain brings drainage worry

Regional Meteorological Centre director G K Das said, “The cyclonic circulation will intensify into a low pressure on Sunday morning. More intense spells of rain are expected. While the city has received heavier showers in a day in recent years, two consecutive days of heavy rain have been rare. This wet spell will help to reduce the rain deficit in Kolkata and south Bengal.”

Experts, however, feared that 48 hours of relentless showers could be disruptive and more than what the city's drainage system can handle. “The rain has already been very intense and once the low pressure forms, more heavy showers are likely. Kolkata s drainage can't take so much rain in such a short period,” said a weather scientist.

In 2018, Kolkata’s highest rain count in a day was 162.6 mm.

Das said the reason behind the heavy downpour was the origin of the circulation — South Bengal and adjoining Bangladesh — and the fact that it covered entire south Bengal. “Systems forming over bay of Bengal tend to deviate towards Odisha and coastal Bengal, keeping Kolkata largely dry. But those forming in the south Bengal-Bangladesh region move across Kolkata and cause more rain,” said Das.

Another reason why the downpour turned more intense is because the eastern axis of the monsoon trough that passes through Daltonganj, Bankura and Purulia has turned active. This, coupled with the cyclonic circulation has led to this heavy shower, Das explained.