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Heavy Rains Carry Mumbai to a Halt; People Stuck in Huge Traffic Snarls

Constant rains swing Mumbai for the fourth straight day on Tuesday, flooding big areas of the city, throwing traffic out of gear on key highways and affecting trains and flights services in the Maharashtra capital.

Weather officials have concluded very heavy rains will continue all through Tuesday and heavy rains on Wednesday in the city and its outposts. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) asked people to be cautious, saying the depth of rains is set to increment in the next one hour. The civil body also urged people to stopover indoors.

Colaba weather station, which covers south Mumbai, recorded 37.6mm of rain and Santacruz weather station – representative of the outposts – recorded 126mm rain from 8.30am to 2.30pm, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

It said the Colaba station recorded 152mm of rain between Monday and Tuesday mornings, the highest 24-hour rainfall this year.

Numerous areas in north Konkan also recorded heavy to very heavy rain in the last 24 hours with Alibaug recording 161mm and adjacent regions of Dahanu and Harnai also recording three digit figures. Navi Mumbai too received 119.85mm rain in the past 24 hours.

“A low-pressure area that had developed over Odisha has lifted westwards towards the central component of the country. There is an upper air cyclonic circulation over the eastern component of the state and a trough that expands over the west coast. All these causes have led to very heavy rain over the Konkan coast, exclusively Mumbai,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, India Meteorological Department (IMD).

A sequence of high tide and heavy rains can offensive water into the low lying areas of the city, which often clogs the storm water drains leading to more flood. A high tide up to 3.29metres is normal to hit at 4.30pm.

There were reports of waterlogging at allocations such as Hindmata, Lalbaug, GTB Nagar, Sion, Mulund, and low lying areas in Parel, Worli, and Dadar that threw traffic out of gear. Areas near Byculla railway station in the east near Palace Cinema and towards the Byculla zoo were also under water.

Mumbai Police problem diversions for choose places as traffic policemen tried to calm congestion at numerous points in the city following water logging. But the traffic department of Mumbai Police is yet to the problem any advisory or diversions.

“South bound traffic towards Matunga diverted to Wadala due to water logging on EEH (Amar Mahal) SG Barve Rd & VN Purav Rd,” Mumbai Police tweeted from its official handle.

The 5.6-kilometre Bandra-Worli sea link was shut for traffic moving towards south Mumbai for the first time on Tuesday since it unlocked in 2009.

Mumbai traffic police, which put diversions on local arterial roads in the city, advised people avoid Worli and Haji Ali stretch in south Mumbai because of waterlogging in convinced areas, and the risk of huge waves crashing on to the border because of a high tide.

“Water is being pumped out from Haji Ali stretch and Worli sea face which should be fair soon,” said Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of police (traffic).

Mumbai Police have also urged driver and traveler to dial 100 to advise them of the position if they are stuck somewhere. People can contact Mumbai Police on Twitter by tagging @MumbaiPolice.

Schools shut, KEM under water

Television visuals displayed people paddling through chest-high water and vehicles crawling through flooded roads in the city, which struggles through the monsoon every year as growing drainage system gives way.

The constant rains have also affected the city’s most famous festival, Ganeshotsav, that started on August 25.

The heavy rains convinced many schools to send children home early, although others were on holiday for the festival.

The School Bus Owners Association, which works with 200 schools in Mumbai, said schools in western outposts stayed shut and many canceled their afternoon shifts due to waterlogging especially near Juhu, Kandivali, and Borivli.

Education department officials said they have asked schools to permit parents to pick up children early and needed them not to send children home individually.

“In many cases, parents are working and so there might not be anyone to pick up the children. Such children should be kept in school only,” BB Chavan, deputy director of education (Mumbai region) said.

KEM Hospital, Mumbai’s biggest municipal medical facility, went under knee deep water after the rains on Tuesday.

“We have earlier moved about 30 patients from ground floor to upper floors. We are taking all measurements to assure patients aren’t disturbed,” Dr. Avinash Supe, KEM Hospital’ dean, said.

Doctors at the hospital said water began seeping inside the hospital amid go on rains overnight and early morning. “In no time, wards on the ground floor such as the pediatric went under the water. We have heard the position is almost related in other hospitals located in low lying areas,” said a doctor.

Trains affected, flights diverted

Officials said the heavy rains have extremely affected the city’s lifeline, the suburban railway service that is utilized by more than 70 lakh commuters daily.

By afternoon, the Central Railway services were running over an hour late due to water logging on the tracks. Western Railway closes its services at Bandra due to waterlogging. The Harbour line services were postponed by over half an hour.

All Western Railway trains from Bandra towards the city were stopped.

“The CR services are postponed by nearly an hour-and-half. At Sion, there is water logging on the tracks. It took me two-and-half-hours to travel from Mulund to Parel,” Vishwas Patil, a commuter, said.

The movement of local trains was also affected after the Mumbai-bound Duronto Express hindered in Thane district, about 70 km from Mumbai, early Tuesday impacting thousands of people who take the route of work and business regular.

Forceful winds and heavy rain hit operations at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), which reported an average postpones of around 35 minutes. Airport officials said a few flights have been diverted to other locations and others asked to ‘go-around’ or postpone landing.

“There are seven go around, three diversions and 35 minutes postpone in flight operations till now,” said a Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) agent.

“Pilots are alive of the city’s weather and hence have flown with acceptable fuel due to which they are asked to go-around without any such concern. In case of a diversion, flights are favored to land in the closest airports either in Ahmedabad or Vadodara,” an airport official said.

Tuesday’s rains could be the largest and longest since July 26, 2005, when the city was ravaged by floods.

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