Mumbai Rains: Heavy showers returns to leave the city gridlocked

Updated: Sep 05, 2019, 07:19 IST | Team mid-day

After a full month's lull, heavy showers and high tide combine to bring city to a crawl; all modes of transportation hit and thousands stranded as several areas are flooded

Traffic at a complete halt on the Western Express highway on Wednesday afternoon as the high tide coincided with heavy rain. Pic/AFP
Traffic at a complete halt on the Western Express highway on Wednesday afternoon as the high tide coincided with heavy rain. Pic/AFP

Heavy rain coupled with high tide at 3.30 pm once again sent the city under on Wednesday, with scenes reminiscent of 26/7 seen across Mumbai. Trains were halted, roads blocked or severely waterlogged and people were stuck at stations and roadsides trying to get home. Civic officials said the Mithi River levels rose to the highest recorded ever — 4.2 metres — around 1 pm on Wednesday and possibly higher than the figures recorded in the last few years.

Civic officials from L ward along with the police, Navy and the National Disaster Response Force evacuated more than 1,300 people living around river banks. After the water level crossed 3.6 metres, civic officials started evacuating the residents of Kranti Nagar and Bamandaya Pada in Marol around 11 pm.

People trying to find their way through a heavily waterlogged road in Andheri. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
People trying to find their way through a heavily waterlogged road in Andheri. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Manish Valaniu, assistant municipal commissioner of L ward, said this is the first time that the water rose above the Kranti Nagar bridge that connects the banks of the Mithi River. He said this hadn't happened in the last seven years.

"We have evacuated around 500 people from Kranti Nagar and around 800-900 people from Bamandaya Pada. We moved them to Bazarwad Municipal School and IES school and have provided food and medicines," he said.

A home in Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, flooded during the downpour
A home in Pratiksha Nagar, Sion, flooded during the downpour

Civic officials said that 24 pumps were functional in six pumping stations across the city with each pumping out 6,600 litres of water per second. Waterlogging was reported in Hindmata, Sion, Pratiksha Nagar, Antop Hill, Gandhi Market, Shell and Postal Colonies of Chembur, Deonar Colony, Tilak Nagar, Shital Cinema Kurla, Milan Subway, Pinky Cinema, National College in Bandra, Sainath Subway in Malad and Dahisar Subway. The disaster management team received seven complaints of partial house collapses and 20 incidents of short circuit between 8 am on Tuesday till 8 am on Wednesday.

Traffic jams across city

Road traffic was badly affected with waterlogging in Andheri West, Jogeshwari and Goregaon. Parts of the arterial WEH were inundated in the morning peak hours. The situation was similar at Aarey Milk Colony and the arterial road connecting Western Express Highway near Goregaon with Powai and Marol.

A completely waterlogged railway track at Sion. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
A completely waterlogged railway track at Sion. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

In Andheri West, Amboli, Veera Desai and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Nagar near Lokhandwala were flooded and water entered some row houses, too. BEST Nagar in Powai close to Vihar lake was flooded after the lake started overflowing.

Public transport hit 

Mumbai railway services were severely affected due to rainfall and waterlogging. Western Railway officials said that it was for the first time in many years that the nullah at Dharavi was throwing back water on rail tracks. Similar problems were faced on Central Railway near the Kurla-Sion stretch.

Helpful citizens try and get a stalled bus back on the move on a waterlogged road at SV Road in Andheri. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Helpful citizens try and get a stalled bus back on the move on a waterlogged road at SV Road in Andheri. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

On the WR, there was also a point failure at Virar followed by heavy waterlogging between Bhayander and Vasai stations, leading to the suspension of services. Within half an hour of heavy rains, the water levels reached 300 mm at Nalasopara and services were stopped between Vasai and Virar stations. Around 1.30 pm, services were stopped near Matunga on the Central Railway, too.

By 6 pm, when water levels began receding between Mahim and Matunga Road railway stations, services resumed between Churchgate and Vasai Road on the fast line. "Despite such heavy rain, WR services did not completely stop between Churchgate and Vasai Road," a WR spokesperson said.

Cars drown in the waterlogged road at outside Vile Parle station at SV Road. Pic/Sneha Kharabe
Cars drown in the waterlogged road at outside Vile Parle station at SV Road. Pic/Sneha Kharabe

On CR, services had been stopped between CSMT-Thane on main line; CSMT-Vadala/Andheri/Goregaon; Wadala-Vashi on harbour line; and Belapur-Kharkopar. "The problem here too was Mithi water coming back on the rail lines which led to stopping of all the lines," a CR spokesperson said. The RPF managed to rescue about 4,500 passengers stranded from 28 trains between Thane and CSMT.

BEST diversions
A large number of buses were diverted, rescheduled and cancelled due to waterlogging in various parts of the city with a total 78 buses breaking down mid-journey till 6 pm.

Mono, Metro to the rescue

The Mumbai Metro and Monorail services came out as saviours as they ran without disruption. BEST routes have been diverted. There were a host of complaints against Ola and Uber cabs too as they remained unavailable or resorted to surge pricing. Film personality Ronnie Screwvala tweeted saying, "Welcome to consumer exploitation, an Uber ride in heavy downpour from Peddar Road to Worli Mumbai, distance 1.7 km, charges R600...."

4.2m
Mithi River levels around 1 pm on Wednesday

1,300
No. of people rescued from river banks

4,500
No. of passengers rescued by RPF from 28 trains between Thane and CSMT

24
No. of water pumps functional across city

07
No. of house collapse complaints received by BMC

20
No. of short circuit complaints received by BMC

6,600litres
Amount of water pumped out by each of the 24 pumps per second

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Heavy showers, high tide combine to bring Mumbai to a standstill

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