MUMBAI — Maharshtra state government and civic authorities put the state on high alert after torrential rains lashed Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Raigad and other parts of Maharashtra for the fourth consecutive day Aug. 29, severely affecting normal life and paralyzing public transportation, including local train and bus services.
Expressing concern for the storms in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the state’s residents to “stay safe” and take all essential precautions while speaking to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to take stock of the developments.
“The Center assures all possible support to the Maharashtra Government in mitigating the situation due to heavy rains in parts of the state,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also spoke with Fadnavis on the situation.
Between 8:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., the Indian Meteorological Department said Mumbai recorded 102 millimeters of rainfall while the suburbs notched a staggering 316 mm.
The IMD has forecast “heavy to very heavy rains” for Mumbai and the entire Konkan region during the next 24 hours, caused by a “low pressure” area over southern Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, which is expected to be upgraded to a “deep depression.”
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation said that in one hour, Mumbai recorded a staggering 70 mm of rainfall, and that it touched 100 mm between 8:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
By 3:00 p.m., the BMC said Mumbai had received 106 mm of rainfall in about six hours, while the eastern suburbs received 78.5 mm and the western suburbs notched 85 mm during the same period.
The state government has requisitioned the services of five disaster management teams, including three from Pune, and a holiday has been declared Aug. 30 for all colleges and schools, said Education Minister Vinod Tawde.
The BMC appealed to people not to step out of their homes unless absolutely necessary, while the entire civic force, including the Mumbai Police, the fire brigade and other agencies, were on high alert to combat the situation.
Since Aug. 29 morning, many parts of Mumbai and the suburbs were inundated with up to four feet of water, including on highways, main and arterial roads, by-lanes, and in housing complexes, railway stations and even the Mumbai Airport.
However, even with more than 180 trees and half a dozen walls collapsing in different parts of the city, as well as flooding and waterlogging, there have been no casualties.
Around 6:30 a.m., rains triggered a landslide in the adjoining Thane district, which caused 10 coaches of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express to derail; there were no casualties.
The torrential rains hit the Ganeshotsav fifth-day immersion ceremonies Aug. 29 and many marquees have decided to postpone by two days.
Local suburban trains experienced massive disruptions in services due to flooding on the railway tracks in several locations.
The Central Railway mainline was completely suspended for over four hours, Harbour Line was completely down, the Western Railway worked slowly and erratically, while there were disruptions on the Konkan Railway.
Lakhs of commuters, including students, were stranded in trains, railway stations or at bus stops. Many failed to reach their destinations and were compelled to return to their homes on foot, walking scores of kilometers from various points in the city.
All gurudwaras, several Hindu and Jain temples, Ganeshotsav marquees, mosques and dargahs, churches, Parsi organizations, NGOs, charitable institutions, housing complexes and individuals made arrangements to offer food and beverages to the weary and stranded commuters, as well as arrangements to rest for the night.
Much later in the evening, activists of the state’s ruling Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party and others got into the act and started organizing relief efforts for the stranded millions.
Waterlogging was reported in Dahisar, Borivali, Kandivali, Malad, Andheri, Jogeshwari, Vile Parle, Santacruz, Bandra, Matunga, Dadar, Elphinstone, Mumbai Central, Mazagaon, Lalbaug, Parel, Sion, Wadala, Kurla, Bhandup and other areas.
The rains affected normal operations at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport with flights delayed an average of 35 minutes due to low visibility.
Seven incoming flights were made to circle the runway until landing permission could be granted, while three flights were diverted, though operations continued.
Domestic and international passengers bound for the airport to catch flights faced huge problems in reaching on time due to massive traffic snarls along highways and main roads.
Mumbai IMD head K.S. Hosalikar said that in the three hours following 8:30 a.m., Mumbai suburbs recorded a whopping 86 mm of rains, while Colaba recorded around 16 mm.
He said the IMD has forecast heavy to very heavy rains for at least the next 24 hours all over Maharashtra, especially over coastal north Konkan, Mumbai and other parts of the state.
The IMD warning said “intense precipitation likely to occur over Mumbai city, suburbs, Dahanu and Raigad during the latter part today.”
The Mumbai areas which recorded the heaviest rains are: Matunga, 253 mm; Parel, 230 mm; Wadala, 260 mm; Bandra, 210 mm; Vile Parle and Santacruz, 212 mm; Worli, 235 and Kurla, 208 mm, said a BMC Disaster Control official.