Mumbai rains: Schools shut amid red alert; trains, flights disrupted

People walk through a waterlogged railway track following rains, in Mumbai, Monday, July 8, 2024. Photo: Shashank Parade/PTI

Mumbai: Incessant showers battered Mumbai and surrounding areas on Monday, disrupting suburban train services and flight operations, throwing normal life into disarray. An elderly woman died from burn injuries caused by a short circuit, while people navigated waterlogged streets and faced severe traffic chaos on Monday. Some parts of Mumbai received over 300 mm of rainfall in just six hours by 7 am, flooding roads and low-lying areas.

Heavy rains continued throughout the day, exacerbating the difficulties for residents and leading to school closures. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a 'red' alert for Mumbai for Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Satara, Pune and Sindhudurg districts and an orange alert for Thane and Palghar on Tuesday.

Schools and junior colleges in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Panvel, Pune as well as rural parts of Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg will remain closed on Tuesday due to a heavy rainfall alert issued by the IMD for these areas, an official said.

Pedestrians use umbrellas to shield themselves during rains, in Mumbai, Monday, July 8, 2024. Photo: PTI

Flights affected by low visibility
Flight services at the Mumbai airport were severely impacted due to low visibility after heavy rains, leading to runway operations being shut for over an hour and approximately 50 flights being cancelled, sources said.

Of the 50 cancelled flights (both arrivals and departures) till 11 am, 42 were operated by IndiGo and six by Air India, they said. "Fifty flights have been cancelled till 11 am on Monday at the Mumbai airport due to low visibility and heavy rains. Of these, IndiGo had to cancel 42 flights, including 20 departing ones, while six flights of Air India including three arrivals were cancelled," a source said.

The government-owned Alliance Air also had to cancel two flights (one departure and one arrival) on Monday, the source added.

Train services disrupted
Central Railway services faced significant disruptions due to rain-induced waterlogging despite installing high-capacity pumps in low-lying areas, inconveniencing thousands of passengers as local trains stopped on tracks for hours. Many out-station trains on their way to Mumbai also remained stranded. After resuming services earlier in the day, Harbour line services of Central Railway were suspended again on a stretch on Monday night due to waterlogging on the tracks.

Due to waterlogging at Wadala station, services between Wadala and CSMT were suspended at 10:15pm, while trains were operational between Mankhurd and Panvel on the route, a CR spokesperson said.

Tracks between Dadar-Matunga Road on Western Railway were submerged around 10 pm, while on Central Railway the tracks were under water at Dadar and Vidyavihar on the Main line and at Wadala on Harbour line, sources said.

WR's fast corridor was also affected due to waterlogging and failure of track changing point on the fifth line near Matunga station late evening, they added.

"There is water on the tracks, but it has not affected the running of trains. The trains on the fast corridor halted due to a point failure on the fifth line and efforts were on to clamp it," a WR spokesperson said.

Earlier in the day, Central Railways train services on the Main line were badly hit before 1.15 pm, while Western railways suburban services were running 10 minutes late.

The rains also affected BEST bus services, with many plying on alternate routes to avoid waterlogging in areas like Parel, Gandhi Market, Sangam Nagar and Malad subway.

During evening rush hours, BEST diverted its bus services via alternate routes due to waterlogging on low-lying areas at Parel, Gandhi Market, Sangam Nagar and Malad subway.

People make their way through a waterlogged street following rains, in Mumbai, Monday, July 8, 2024. Photo: PTI

Heavy rainfall
Mumbai's island city received an average of 47.93mm of rainfall in the 10-hour period ending at 6pm, while the figure was 18.82 mm and 31.74 mm for eastern and western parts of the metropolis, respectively.

"In the 24 hours ending at 8 am, Mumbai's island city recorded an average rain of 115.63 mm, Eastern Mumbai 168.68 mm and Western Mumbai 165.93 mm rainfall. The city reported 40 incidents of tree or branch fall, but there was no report of any death. Some vehicles suffered damage," a civic official said.

"The city reported 12 incidents of short-circuit, which claimed the life of a 72-year-old woman at Santacruz East. The lady sustained burn injuries in a fire triggered due to a short-circuit in a room of Haji Siddhiki Chawl on Datta Mandir Road.

Mumbai also witnessed 10 incidents of house or wall collapse since morning, but there was no report of any fatality in the incidents," he added.

Both houses of the Maharashtra legislature were adjourned as many members and officials could not reach the Vidhan Bhavan due to the downpour.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde took stock of the heavy rain situation by chairing a meeting at the Mantralaya and visiting the control room of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in Kurla and Ghatkopar areas of Mumbai and in other parts of Maharashtra, including Thane, Vasai ( Palghar), Mahad (Raigad), Chiplun (Ratnagiri), Kolhapur, Sangli, Satara and Sindhudurg, a spokesperson of the NDRF said

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