Twelve years after Mumbai suffered its worst ever deluge, the nightmare returned to haunt its citizens as heavy rain pounded the city, crippling rail services, stranding motorists and inundating low-lying areas. The downpour claimed four lives--one in Vikhroli in Mumbai and three in Thane district. The rain, which started early morning, had by afternoon developed unusual ferocity, causing panic and triggering memories of the floods of July 26, 2005. The city received 315.8 mm rainfall in the 12 hours ending 8.30 pm, higher than any 24-hour rainfall in August in a decade.
Though Mumbai had got 944mm rain on 26/7, Tuesday's intensity can be gauged from the fact that many areas received over 200 mm rain in seven hours from 8 am to 3 pm, which is considered “extremely heavy“ by meteorologists.The highest was in Worli, which recorded over 300 mm (12 inches) in less than 12 hours.
Mumbai's lifeline, the suburban railway network, was paralyzed. By 12.20 pm, with many stations waterlogged, Central Railway suspended services on both Harbour and Main lines, and Western Railway suspended services twice in the afternoon. CR services were not resumed later in the day .
There were major traffic snarls with the Eastern and Western Express Highways severely congested and motorists taking 2.5 hours to commute from Kandivli to Andheri. Heavy traffic was reported on Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, approach roads to Eastern Freeway , JVLR and Bandra-Worli sealink. Heavy rain caused traffic jams throughout Mumbai, and subways at Andheri, Santacruz and Khar were shut. And while many Mumbaikars were stranded in their offices, thousands on the roads were forced to walk in waist-high water in parts such as Khar, Linking Road and SV Road in Bandra, Lalbaug, Kalina, Hindmata (Dadar) and Sion. Five places not known to flood normally were also waterlogged: Kemps Corner, Worli (towards sealink), Bhandup (W), Andheri market and parts of Saki Naka.
While BEST buses ploughed through and traffic police tried to clear jams, commuters complained of unavailability of kaali-peelis, autos and aggregator cabs (and of overcharging by the few available). Mumbai police warned motorists that if water reached the level of the tyres, they should abandon the car. “Being on your 2 feet may be uncomfortable but safer,“ they posted on their Twitter handle which also put out various helpline numbers. There was a flurry of messages, warnings, advisories and help offered by Samaritans on social media.
Deputy municipal commissioner Sudhir Naik said, “This is an exceptional situation. The high tide coupled with gusty winds affected the water-receding capacity .“ The BMC late Tuesday evening cancelled all leave and asked its personnel on leave to return to work.
PM Narendra Modi tweeted, assuring the Centre would support the state in “mitigating the situation due to heavy rains in parts of the state.“ “Urge the people of Mumbai and surrounding areas to stay safe and take all essential precautions in the wake of the heavy rain,“ the PM said. CM Devendra Fadnavis declared a holiday at 4 pm and state government employees were told to leave early.
Flight operations were hit because of poor visibility , with 10 flights cancelled, seven diverted and 13 that were on approach to land forced to abort the descend and to do a go-around.Flights into and out of airport were delayed by 30-60 minutes.
Rain flooded hospitals too.Water entered the ground floor wards of KEM Hospital in Parel, forcing the hospital administration to shift around 50 patients to higher floors. Dean Dr Avinash Supe however said medical services did not suffer.
Along with the rain came power cuts. A citizen of the western suburbs, Taherreh Jalali Dashti, said lights had been disconnected in Khar-Danda, Pali Hill, Carter Road, Bandra (E) and parts of Santacruz (W) since 4pm. Consumers in the eastern suburbs of Ghatkopar, Bhandup and Mulund too went without electricity for hours.Power utility firms said the outage was a “preventive measure“ to prevent mishaps. Most school and college students escaped the rain fury owing to the ongoing mid-term Ganpati break, and those that were open sent back their students early .
Ten NDRF teams were despatched by the Centre, and the Navy , whose team was on standby , put up four rain shelters for stranded Mumbaikars.
A two-year-old from Vikhroli, Kalyani Jangam, died in a house collapse caused by rain in the Parksite area. Two persons drowned and one went missing after they were swept away in nallahs in Thane district. Thane received 289mm rain, and Navi Mumbai saw rainfall of over 121mm in 11hours.
Dadar-Parel were one of the worst affected areas in the city, recording 230 mm rainfall in 5 hours. The geo graphically low-lying area of Hindmata and Dadar TT junction were flooded as commuters tried to wade through waist deep water to reach Dadar station. Harried commuters were seen standing on the roads, asking for lifts to reach their destinations after the suburban network on Central, Western lines was suspended.Cars were abandoned on roads leading to Dadar station, resulting in bottlenecks and causing a massive jam. Snarls were nearly 3-4 km long, with BEST buses taking over 2 hours to cover a few metres.
Matunga-Sion recorded 253 mm rainfall in five hours. Waist-high water was seen at Matunga circle, Sion circle, Jain society, Gandhi Market.Water entered many shops in Gandhi market. Kurla-Santacruz-Vile Parle record ed 208-212 mm rainfall in five hours.
Kurla station was submerged with in a few hours of rainfall. Trains came to a halt between Kurla and Sion on Tuesday morning and water levels continued to rise by afternoon. Increased intensity of rain led to poor visibility in the area.
Residents complained water entered their houses in the morning. Some residents in Kalina had to drill holes in their walls to allow water to flow out. Power supply was cut off in most areas of Kalina since afternoon.