Rains hit Mumbai in March; trees fall in several areas

While the unseasonal rains in Mumbai on Friday led to a welcome drop in temperature, it also led to quite a few trees falling

It wasn't just the sudden shower that took Mumbai by surprise yesterday – a mere 10 mm of rainfall caused several trees to fall across the city and its suburbs. While the rainfall was caused by 'upper air cyclonic activity', environmentalists have blamed haphazard trimming and concretization for the trees falling.

Also read: March rains take Mumbaikars by pleasant surprise

Mumbai rain
A view of the Bandra shoreline, which was overcast yesterday. Many parts of the city experienced moderate to heavy rain yesterday. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Parts of the city were overcast with clouds and witnessed thunder and rain. There was heavy downpour in Vasai-Virar on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, while moderate rainfall was observed in Andheri, Juhu, Malad, Kandivli, Thane, Powai areas last morning. Navi Mumbai too saw moderate rainfall. The Indian Meteorology Department (IMD) reported 10 mm rainfall at its Santacruz observatory until 2 pm and predicted similar conditions for the next 48 hours.

The temperature stayed between 34 degrees and 24 degrees until 5.30 pm yesterday, and many Mumbaikars headed to Marine Drive to enjoy the pleasant breeze in the evening. But there was a drawback too — the BMC's disaster management department got complaints of two trees falling; one in Malad and another in Wadala. No casualty was reported. There were two other complaints of trees about to fall in Goregaon and Andheri.

Mumbaikars also took to social media to report more such incidents. One tree was found fallen in Borivli's Ram Mandir bus stop area. A person posted on Twitter, "Tree fall on the road from IC colony to Borivli station. Near Ram Mandir junction. Avoid the road."

While the department said the trees may not have fallen due to rains, the fact that the western suburbs saw the heaviest rainfall on Friday points to the opposite. Every year, Mumbai sees a large number of trees getting uprooted during the monsoon. Falling trees have killed several people over the years and have also caused damage to property. Besides, uprooted trees also block traffic in the area until the authorities clear the road.

Environmentalist Stalin D said, "I'm not surprised that trees fell after brief rainfall. Some trees in Mumbai are so weak, even a strong gust of wind can fell them. There is no soil cover left for their roots. Concrete blocks their roots and does not allow them to grow. This results in trees falling. The National Green Tribunal had directed the BMC to deconcretise tree bases. We are still awaiting action."

More rain expected
K S Hosalikar, deputy director-general (western region) at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that this weather is not entirely unexpected. While rains in March aren’t routine, they aren’t rare either. “We have witnessed similar rainfall in 2006, 2007 and 2015. The changes in weather are due to the upper air cyclonic activity and light rains are expected to drench North-Central and Konkan regions of Maharashtra. There is also a patch of cloud on Northern Maharashtra, which will probably result in rainfall for the next two days,” said Hosalikar.

The rains may have been unseasonal, but not everyone was caught by surprise. Armed with an umbrella, this woman calmly continues on her business in the rain. PIC/NIMESH DAVE
The rains may have been unseasonal, but not everyone was caught by surprise. Armed with an umbrella, this woman calmly continues on her business in the rain. Pic/Nimesh Dave

While light rains have been forecast for Mumbai on March 5 and 6, considering the upper air cyclonic circulation in central Pakistan and adjacent western Rajasthan region, there is a possibility that the sky will remain cloudy.

Photos: Mumbai witnesses unseasonal rains in March (View pictures)

Photos: Mumbai witnesses unseasonal rains in March

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