No let-up in rain, central Kerala stares at flood threat

Kerala rain
A family being shifted from their flooded house at Palazhi in Kozhikode. Photo: Sajeesh Sankar

Pathanamthitta: A flood-like situation prevailed in many parts of the Central Kerala as heavy rain continued to batter different parts of Pathanamthitta and Idukki districts.

Though the Orange alert for the southern districts meant for Wednesday was lifted by the State Disaster Management Authority and the Meteorological Department, the situation remains almost the same. There is no let-up in the rain.

The orange alert is still in force in the Northern Kerala.

The water level in some rivers in the Pathanamthitta district will remain high because of the prevailing situation in Idukki district where a yellow alert is in force. A mild spell of rain may continue in the Pathanamthitta district.

Pathanamthitta receives 177% more rainfall

Pathanamthitta district received a total rainfall of 35 cm from October 1 to October 12. The rain expected during this period was 12 cm. According to the Meteorological Department in Thiurvananthapuram, this is 177% more than the rain received last time.

During the period from June 1 to September 30, the district received 168 cm of rainfall. This is four per cent higher than that of the average rainfall.

Northeast monsoon too may raise water level

Now, it is time for the Northeast monsoon rain, locally known as 'Thulavarsham', to have its spell. (Thulavarsham denotes rainfall during the Malayalam month of Thulam which corresponds to the months of October-November). In Kerala Pathanamthitta district receives the highest 'Thulavarsham'. The district receives an average 60 cm rain during the period from October 15 to December when the north-eastern monsoon prevails.

But last time, the total rainfall in the district was 53 cm, a 12 percent decrease from the previous year. But the district received more summer rains and because of this reason, about 20 dams in the district are now water-rich. So, if there is heavy spell of 'Thulavarsham', the dams in the district will have to be opened.

Aluva flood
The premises of Aluva Mahadeva Temple in Erankulam district submerged as the water level in Periyar River rose following heavy rain on Tuesday. Photo: Josekutty Panackal

Dams fill up almost to the brink

Most of the rainfall received by the hilly terrains in Peerumedu drain to two rivers in the Pathanamthitta district. The district is still under alert since the dams which are coming under the Sabari Hydroelectric Project reached 84 per cent of its total capacity.

Since the catchment areas near the dams received an average 8 cm rain, the water inflow into dams would remain the same. The water level in the Pamba river measured at Malakkara station was 4.1 meter. The water level in the Manimala River, near Kallooppara, has reached the danger level of 5.2 m. The water level in the Achankovil River at Thumpamon station was 10.5 m. The danger level there is 9 meter.

Two more threats brew

Kerala will witness another flood-like situation if more rains are brought about by a low-pressure area being formed over the Bay of Bengal, near Andaman and Nicobar, and another cyclone brewing in the Arabian Sea.

Moreover, in the event of Western Ghats coming under the grip of rough sky, heavy rain can be expected.

Heavy rainfall in Karipur

Malappuram, Kozhikode and Palakkad districts witnessed heavy rainfall on Tuesday. Many parts in these districts, including the Karipur Airport, reported a rainfall of more than 20 cm magnitude. The most heavy rainfall in the State on Tuesday was in Karipur. It reported a rainfall of 25 cm magnitude.


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