Mumbaikars enduring the sweltering heat can expect some relief, as the regional meteorological centre has predicted thunderstorms in the next 12 hours.
The weather department has issued a warning to the BMC’s Disaster Management Cell about the possibility of dust storm, lightning and rainfall across Mumbai. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi
The weather department has issued a warning to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Disaster Management Cell (DMC) about the possibility of dust storm, lightning and rainfall across Mumbai.
Attributed to the pre-monsoon season, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that the expected thunderstorm is a precursor to the monsoon season.
Khopoli witnessed dust storm and rainfall on Wednesday afternoon
VK Rajeev, director of IMD said, “It is not an unusual occurrence; we expect light rainfall around this time every year. After recording pictures of clouds approaching the city on Wednesday, we informed the civic body’s disaster management cell.”
On Wednesday afternoon, the area of Khopoli witnessed dust storm and heavy rainfall. Mumbai residents were also surprised to experience cloudy weather, followed by an increase in dust levels after 3 pm.
“The rise in dust was caused by localised winds blowing across the city, which could also be a combination of northwesterly winds. The thundershowers are approaching from the eastern side of the state, moving towards the west. However, it is difficult to assess the speed of the wind,” said Rajeev.
The DMC is preparing itself for any kind of calamity, after they were informed about the impending thunderstorm by the weather department. Mahesh Narvekar, chief officer of DMC, said, “We have been informed by the department and are preparing accordingly.
We have informed all fire stations to remain alert for any form of emergency. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team and hospitals have been kept in the loop.”
Rising dust and pollution levels
An official from Maharashtra Pollution Control Board said, “The respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM) was on a higher level on Wednesday.
The reason could be that while, usually, the wind blows from west to east, it was blowing from north to west, creating a low pressure belt. The wind kept revolving across the city, increasing the pollution levels. We are preparing a report on the RSPM levels of the city, which will be ready by noon on Thursday.”
Discussing the health effects due to rise in dust levels, Dr Altaf Patel, director of medicine at Jaslok Hospital, said, “The rise in dust and pollution levels increases the risk of heart diseases and strokes, even among those not prone to vascular ailments.
The World Health Organisation has also stated that increase in dust levels is a major cause of health issues like inflammation of arteries.” Echoing similar sentiments was Dr Rajratan Sadawarte, a chest physician at Kohinoor Hospital, who observed about 20-30 per cent increase in patients complaining of symptoms like suffocation and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), especially those who had recently come back to the city after vacation.
“There have been aggravated cases of asthma and COPD patients in the last one or two days, as well as allergic bronchitis caused by dust and pollution. There are also new patients complaining of respiratory problems,” he said.
Weather bureau says
An official from the regional weather department of Pune has predicted light rainfall in some areas from Wednesday evening that is expected to continue for the next 24-48 hours at isolated areas in South Konkan regions of Goa, Marathwada and Vidharbha. The North Konkan region is expected to remain unaffected.
Rain in Khopoli
On Wednesday, the area of Khopoli was affected by heavy rainfall for almost three hours, uprooting trees and bringing down hoardings on the highway.
Omkar Kadam, a resident of Khopoli, who also shared photos with mid-day said, “There was a lot of dust in the area before it started raining.
There was heavy rainfall in our region and around Lonavala. While the rainfall subsided by evening, we were not at all prepared for such heavy pre-monsoon showers.”
- Neha LM Tripathi and Anuradha Varanasi