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Monday, October 1, 2012

Heavy thunderstorm cools city, but kills 4 & hits traffic

Mumbai: Heaving under above-normal temperatures, the city's prayer for relief was answered on Monday evening. As lightning rippled across the sky and thunder followed, heavy showers that started early in the evening in Kalyan and Thane travelled south, cooling the city. But the spectacle that drew many to the windows also claimed four lives and made travel at the evening peak hours a pain. 

    Mumbai airport had to suspend its flight operations for 20 minutes and local trains ran 10-15 minutes late on all three routes. On the Eastern Express Highway, near Ghatkopar, three cars rammed into each other but no injuries were reported. Areas of Dadar, Sion, Mahim and Malad were waterlogged for a while. 
    In just one hour between 7 and 8pm, the heaviest showers in almost three weeks deposited more than 60mm of rain in several areas like Parel, Sion Koliwada and Marine Lines. Between 7 and 9pm, the island city received an average rainfall of 49.37 mm, the eastern suburbs 25.3 mm and the western suburbs 17.83 mm. 
    Narsingh Lal, a 28-yearold labourer, was crushed while having tea with friends at a stall on J P Road at around 8pm when a coconut tree, uprooted by the strong winds, 
fell on it. Three other persons, Shreekant Patil and Rajesh Bhoir (both 22) and Alpesh Bhoir (26), were killed instantly on being struck by lightning in Bhiwandi. 
    "We had to divert six flights to Ahmedabad and Vadodara as the airport was closed because of bad weather from 5.11pm onwards," said a Mumbai International Airport Limited spokesperson. 
    The weather department blamed the increase in temperature and humidity during the day for the thunderstorms in the evening. "This is just thunder activity," said V K Rajeev, director of weather fore
cast, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Mumbai. "It's not unusual to have thundershowers, especially since the monsoon has not yet withdrawn from the western coast," he said. The Met department said the maximum temperature at Colaba was33°C and at Santa Cruz 34°C, over 2 degrees above normal. 
    IIT-Bombay professor Kapil Gupta said: "Whenever the heat index (based on temperature and humidity) has exceeded 55, it has been generally accompanied by evening thunderstorms. On Monday, our automatic weather station recorded a temperature of 35.5°C and humidity of 75% at 1.10pm. This made a heat index of 59.6 — the highest since 2006. In addition, there's a low weather system coming in from the Bay of Bengal. A combination of the two resulted in thunderstorms and rainfall in Mumbai and Thane." 

Today's forecast 
ince all the moisture in the atmosphere was used up on Monday, heavy rains are unlikely in the next two days. However, occasional light showers may occur in parts of the city and suburbs, said the duty officer at IMD.

SIZZLING SHOT: Lightning carves up the sky over CST on Monday evening


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