More reports on: Environment

Mumbai marooned; govt declares emergency

30 August 2017

Torrential rains have left Mumbai and its suburbs marooned today, disrupting rail, road and air services and throwing normal life out of gear forcing the state government to declare an emergency.

Incessant heavy rains lashed the metropolis and adjoining Navi Mumbai and Thane regions since last night, delaying suburban train services and leaving vehicles crawling through waterlogged roads in low-lying areas.

Traffic closed on Bandra - Worli sea link due to water logging at the Worli end of the seal link.

With the MeT department forecasting ''extremely heavy rainfall'' in the next 24 to 48 hours in the western coast of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, and parts of Gujarat and Goa, the state government has asked the three teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) to stand by for any emergency.

While no untoward incidents have been reported in the city, the state government has moved two additional teams of the NDRF from Pune to Mumbai besides three teams stationed in Mumbai.

The Colaba weather bureau recorded 152 mm of rain between Monday and Tuesday mornings - the highest rainfall this year.

Traffic jams were reported on all major arterial roads, including the Eastern and Western Express Highway, Sion-Panvel highway and LBS Marg as the rains continued since last night.

Heavy water logging expected in the coming hours due to heavy showers coupled with high tide.

The situation was worsened by the high tide of 3.32 metres at 4:30 pm and authorities have asked people to avoid waterfront areas, sitting on tetrapods or on promenades.

Those stuck on the roads have been askedto dial 100 or contact the police on Twitter.

Waterlogging was reported in low-lying areas of Parel and Sion. A tree fell on the busy Saat Rasta road, affecting road traffic.

Suburban services were disrupted with trains on all the three sections - western, central and harbour - running late.

Waterlogging on tracks was reported in Andheri and Bandra, civic officials said.

The city airport saw flight disruptions since morning.

Due to heavy winds and downpour since morning, six to seven flights had to do rounds while landing, while four to five flights were diverted to nearby airports. These included an IndiGo Guwahati - Mumbai flight, which was diverted to Ahmadabad, airport officials said.

The single runway of the airport was, however, functional.

A Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport spokesperson said there is an average delay of 35 minutes.

''Heavy rains and strong winds have drastically reduced visibility leading to diversions and go arounds even though the main runway is open,'' PTI quoted a Mumbai airport source as saying.

Suburban rail services, the lifeline of the metropolis, were paralysed.

Central Railway's harbour line service, which connects the Victora Terminus station to Panvel, remained suspended since 11:30 am, railways officials said.

Traffic snarls were witnessed on the Eastern Freeway, Dr BR Ambedkar Road, Western Express highway, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar said.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the situation was well under control and advised citizens to step out of their homes only if necessary.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner Sudhir Naik, however, said things were well under control and senior civic officials were keeping a close watch on the situation.

''Due to waterlogging on tracks & point failure at Bandra following very heavy rains, 3 lines except UP Fast line are affected. Efforts are on to start traffic on 3 lines (except UP fast line) at Bandra as soon as possible by attending the points,'' the Western Railway tweeted.

According to an official from the BMC's Disaster Management Cell, ''There have been reports of waterlogging in Dadar, Andheri, Worli, Kurla and Sakinaka, among other areas.

We have received 20 cases of trees falling and one of a wall collapse.''

''Despite heavy downpour, no untoward incident has been reported so far,'' said the official.

''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,'' A K 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.

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 is crowded with commuters anxiously waiting for trains to head home.

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