Finally it rains, and how
The city witnessed the highest levels of downpour yet in the season yesterday; delayed local train schedules, waterlogged streets and disrupted traffic were the familiar consequences
For almost two months now, Mumbaikars, with the bogey of water cuts snapping at their heels, have been cursing the rain gods for failing to make their annual appearance. Yesterday, the Gods decided to answer by giving the city way more than it could handle, as incessant rains lashed the city and its suburbs, wreaking havoc on everyday life and making a mockery of the public transport system.
According to the Weather Bureau Officials, the western suburbs experienced the highest rainfall in the season with 151.6 mm while the Colaba region received 82.6 mm (between Sunday 8.30 pm and Monday 8.30 pm).
Train schedules on both the Central and Western Railway networks went for a toss, with locals running late all day — those that did ply moved at a snail’s pace.
In the morning hours, trains plying north of Thane and Borivli stations experienced problems. An official attributed the delays to the heavy showers, saying, “It is very difficult for the motormen to see the signal properly during heavy rainfall,” said a railway official. By 8 pm there was intense water logging at Bandra station and a point failure at Santacruz station stalled trains.
As the downpour continued into the late afternoon hours, water logging was reported at different tracks — including those at Dadar, Sion, Byculla and Bhandup.
“There were no problems with the signals, but there was water logging at a few places. On an average, trains were running late by 30 minutes on the main line, and by 20 minutes on the harbour line,” said AK Singh, PRO, Central Railway.
The CR installed around 37 water pumps to remove water from tracks. Officials added that by 7.30 pm, water on most of the stations had receded, though the situation remained critical at Sion station.
Heavy rainfall also affected traffic at Western and Eastern Express Highways, and slow moving traffic was reported from across the city, water logged streets playing truant. Streets were flooded at Hindmata, Parel, Dadar in central Mumbai, while in the western suburbs areas like Malad, Goregaon, Milan subway, Andheri, Malad and Borivli were inundated.
R Chavan, traffic inspector, Bandra said, “There is heavy traffic here and we have been busy pooling vehicular traffic.” B Gaikwad, traffic inspector, Ghatkopar said, “There is water logging at several spots and stagnant water nearly 1.5feet deep. The traffic is slow, but it’s moving.”
While there was mild waterlogging almost across the city, knee-deep water was witnessed in 22 locations, including Sion and Dadar. The Andheri Subway had to be shut. Intense water logging near Vikhroli forced traffic cops to direct traffic to alternate routes via the Eastern Express Highway.
There were brief power failures at several areas in the city. In the western suburbs, substations were shut for some time due to the rains. The Bhayander substation was shut for 15 minutes, while three substations in Goregaon and Dindoshi were shut in the evening hours.
“These are low lying areas and we had to shut the substations as a safety measure for people there,” said a spokesperson of RInfra. Each substation supplies power to at least 4,500 families.
Jet Airways flights 4323 and 265 and Air India flights 649 had to do a go around due to low visibility. These were arriving from Bangalore, Kathmadu and Raipur respectively. All flights landed safely, with 15 minutes of delay. The average delay of landing and departure at Mumbai airport due to bad weather was over 20 minutes.
What to expect today
The Indian Meteorological department has predicted heavy rainfall today. V K Rajeev, director of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said yesterday, “There is a cyclonic circulation around the north east of Mumbai that has caused this downpour. There are signs of heavy rainfall in Mumbai and suburbs and also in the Konkan region for next 24 hours.”