MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Torrential rain accompanied by strong winds
wreaked havoc in Mumbai+
and its adjoining areas on Tuesday. The heavy downpour disrupted rail, road and air services, uprooted trees, swamped homes, and led to heavy waterlogging in many parts of the city.
People’s woes were compounded by the high tide that prevented natural drainage of water into the sea. Meteorological department sources said Mumbai recorded copious rain of 65 mm in just three hours.
And there seems to be
no early respite+
from this with the Met department predicting heavy rainfall for Mumbai and the surrounding areas over the next 2-3 days.
People stranded at railway station amid heavy rain showers in Mumbai. (TOI photo)
‘Red’ warning for next 24 hours
Charan Singh, Director, India Meteorological Department, said a ‘Red’ warning has been issued for the next 24 hours for the city and adjoining areas, indicating there could be very heavy rainfall.
“Areas such as Mumbai, south Gujarat, Konkan, Goa and west Vidarbha will get extremely heavy rainfall in the next 24 to 48 hours. It is a serious situation. We have issued necessary warnings to the departments concerned, including airports,” AK Srivastav, head of climate monitoring and analysis at IMD Pune told PTI.
“The status of the weather system, which has brought heavy showers over the Mumbai region, has been upgraded from ‘well marked low pressure’ to ‘depression’. It means it is set to bring more rains. Hence, we have predicted an extremely heavy rainfall,” he said.
As a precautionary measure, the Fadnavis government has advised people to stay indoors tomorrow.
In the wake of warnings issued by #IMD people in Mumbai and areas around #Mumbai are advised to stay back home unless there is an emergency.
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra)
However the CMO made it clear that essential services and critical staff in the government will remain on duty on Wednesday.
The state government also announced closure of all schools and colleges in Mumbai for tomorrow.
“With today’s heavy downpour and predictions for heavier rainfall; schools, college authorities instructed to remained closed tomorrow,” Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde tweeted.
A day of chaos
In the morning, commuters bound for offices were stranded at several suburban stations.
In absence of train services, major suburban stations were overcrowded. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was chock-a-block with commuters anxiously waiting for trains to head home.
Thousands of vehicles were stranded on arterial roads in Lower Parel, Dadar, Kurla, Andheri, Khar West, Ghatkopar, Sion and Hindmata areas that were under knee to waist deep water for several hours, many having broken down.
Suburban rail services, the lifeline of the metropolis, were thrown out of gear.
Train services on all three suburban railway lines– Central, Western and Harbour lines–have been paralysed.
Commuters were seen standing under knee deep water on the steps of buses in low lying areas like Parel. Traffic crawled at snail’s pace on important roads, including the Eastern and Western Express Highway, Sion-Panvel highway and LBS Marg.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the State Disaster Management Control (SDMC) room and took stock of the situation.
He said the situation was being monitored closely and necessary advisories would be issued from time to time.
According to the civic body’s disaster management cell, at least 20 incidents of trees fall and one of wall collapse were reported from across the city but there were no casualties.
Navy on alert
A Navy spokesperson said helicopters have been kept on standby to meet any eventuality and flood rescue teams and divers are also ready for deployment.
“Seaking 42 C ready for day/night Search and Rescue. Medical teams and Divers ready for immediate deployment,” the spokesperson tweeted.
Five flood rescue teams and two diving teams are also ready to render assistance at different locations across Mumbai, the spokesperson said.
PM Modi takes stock, assures all help
Prime Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the situation arising due to incessant rains and promised all possible support from the Centre.
Urge the people of Mumbai and surrounding areas to stay safe & take all essential precautions in the wake of the heavy rain.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi)
Airport operations affected
The heavy rainfall affeted flight operations in a big way.
Flight operations at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport saw delay and disruptions since morning.
Till evening, the airport saw 10 flight cancellations, 23 go-arounds and 7 diversions, airport sources said.
Aircraft stopped landing at the city airport after 4pm but were taking off, airport officials said.
While the main runway of the the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Aiport (CSIA) is operational, the nearby aerodrome at Juhu has been shut as it is very close to the Arabian Sea, sources said.
The airport officials said on an average all the flights were delayed by over 45 minutes.
“Heavy rain and strong winds have drastically reduced visibility leading to diversions and go arounds even though the main runway is open,” a Mumbai airport source told PTI.
Govt suspends toll collection at Mumbai’s entry points
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered suspension of toll collection from vehicles at the entry points of the rain-pounded city and at the Bandra-Worli Sealink till the situation normalised.
“The chief minister has instructed that toll collection should be suspended at all the entry points of Mumbai and at the sealink until the situation in the city gets back to normal,” an official from the chief minister’s office said.
Vehicles coming from Pune, Goa asked not to enter Mumbai
Vehicles coming from Goa and Pune have been advised not to enter the rain-battered Mumbai as a precautionary measure to avoid a grid-locked situation in the megapolis, the police said.
The Navi Mumbai Police has issued directives to its traffic wing to send back cars, buses, trucks and other heavy vehicles and not allow them until the traffic situation in Mumbai normalises.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI)