Monsoon arrives in pandemic-hit Mumbai; IMD issues orange alert for Pune

The heavy downpour also disrupted local train services, which are running only for personnel engaged in health and other essential services

South-west monsoon arrives in Mumbai

The south-west monsoon set in over Mumbai and its neighbouring areas on Wednesday, the MeT department said, as heavy rains lashed the city and suburbs since early morning, causing water-logging at many places and disrupting local train services. 

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a 'red alert' for Mumbai, and neighbouring Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts, warning of very heavy to extremely heavy rainfall at isolated places there.

The first rains of this year's monsoon season in Mumbai caused water-logging in various parts of the city, prompting the traffic police to shut four subways and forcing motorists to abandon their vehicles on roads. 

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Pandemic-hit city

The heavy downpour also disrupted local train services, which are running only for personnel engaged in health and other essential services, and are out of bound for general commuters in view of the COVID-19 pandemic

While there were fewer vehicles on the city roads amid the downpour, motorcyclists and other two-wheeler riders were unable to manoeuvre their vehicles at some of the flooded places. 

The traffic police closed Milan, Khar, Andheri and Malad subways for motorists due to water-logging at these places. "We have closed the subways due to water-logging of up to two feet at these junctions. 

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Low visibility & increased risk of accidents

However, traffic was smooth on the SV Road, Linking Road and the Western Express Highway. So far, no traffic congestion has been reported," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Western Suburbs, Somnath Gharge said. 

Heavy rains caused low visibility and increased the risk of accidents, hence the traffic police personnel are on roads to prevent such incidents, the official said.

Cranes were used to clear roads on which motorists had abandoned their vehicles due to water-logging, he added. 

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Downpour in Santacruz & Colaba

The city police appealed to Mumbaikars not to step out of their homes unnecessarily and cautioned them against travelling to some of the inundated areas. Mumbai and its suburbs experienced thunderstorms along with moderate to intense spells of rainfall during the day, it added. 

Suburban train services from Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to neighbouring Thane and Vashi in Navi Mumbai were suspended due to water-logging on tracks, officials said. 

Routes of some BEST buses, run by the city civic body's transport wing, were diverted to avoid flooded streets, they said.

According to the IMD, the western suburb of Santacruz recorded 164.8 mm rain in six hours from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm, while Colaba in south Mumbai recorded 32.2 mm rain during the same period. 
 

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Maharashtra to receive more rainfall

"It's monsoon arrival in Mumbai today," Dr Jayanta Sarkar, head of the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) Mumbai office, said in the morning. The IMD said conditions are favourable for onset of the monsoon in remaining parts of Maharashtra in next two to three days.

There was inundation at several places in the city, including on tracks near Sion and Chunabhatti stations on the Central Railway (CR) route.

The local train services were initially suspended on the CR's main line between CSMT and Kurla from 9.50 am. 

Later, the train services were suspended between CSMT and Thane (main line), and between CSMT and Vashi (Harbour line) from 10.20 am, CR's chief spokesperson Shivaji Sutar said.

"However, services on the Trans-Harbour line and BSU (Uran in adjoining Raigad district) lines are running smoothly. 
 

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#Waterlogging

There was no disruption on the Western Railway route and its local train services were running normal, WR's chief spokesperson Sumit Thakur said. 

Water pumps were being deployed to clear flooding, he said, adding drains and culverts were flowing smoothly. 

The Mumbai Police in a tweet said, "#WaterLogging Netaji Palkar Chowk, S.V. Road Baherambaug Junction, Sakkar Panchayat Chowk, Neelam Junction, Govandi, Hindamata Junction, Iqbal Kamani Junction, Dharavi Restaurant, Dharavi, Sion Junction, King Circle. Please plan travel likewise.#StaySafeMumbai #MonsoonSafety." 

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed the administration to ensure the accumulated rainwater is drained out at the earliest and transport resumed. 

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Uddhav Thackeray's direction on COVID-19

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray directed the administration to ensure the accumulated rainwater is drained out at the earliest and transport resumed. 

Thackeray spoke to the control rooms in Mumbai and collectors of Thane, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg and Palghar districts as incessant rains led to the inundation of several areas, affecting the normal life. 

The Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said the Met department has predicted medium to very heavy rains in the next three days. "On Wednesday, the chief minister asked authorities to ensure that residents of the coastal belt are not inconvenienced and relief work be started wherever needed. 

The CM also told them to ensure that rains do not impact COVID-19 hospitals and also the patients being treated for other ailments. He directed authorities in Mumbai to keep the pumping stations functional to drain out rainwater expeditiously," the CMO said. 

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Orange alert for Pune

Earlier in the day, the IMD issued an orange alert for various districts in the Konkan region, including Mumbai, for next four days, barring Raigad for which there is red alert for Thursday and orange alert for the next three days. 

"Heavy to very heavy rain at isolated places," predicted in the districts on the Konkan belt during the orange alert days, the IMD said.

It also issued an orange alert for Pune, Satara and Kolhapur districts in western Maharashtra on Saturday and Sunday, and for Bhandara, Gondia and Gadchiroli districts in the Vidharbha region on Sunday. 

The MeT department had on Saturday confirmed the arrival of the south-west monsoon in Maharashtra at Harnai in the coastal Ratnagiri district.

(Photograph:AFP)

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