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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sit tight for 72 hours: Met Agencies concerned with disaster management, relief and rescue operations on high alert

The city woke up to a wet morning on Tuesday and was almost submerged as the day progressed. According to the authorities, the continuous spell of heavy rainfall will last till Friday. 

    Between 8.30 am and 8.30 pm, Santacruz recorded 142.2 mm of rainfall while Colaba received84.6mm.TheMetdepartmenthasissued a heavy rainfall warning for the next 72 hours, and police and BMC have asked residents to avoid long distance journeys. 
    Road traffic was first to get hit. As office goers headed out, Western Express Highway, Eastern Express Highway, SV Road, Link Road, LBS Marg, Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road and Barfiwala Junction—all major arterial roads—instantly got clogged with traffic. "It took me two hours and 45 minutes to reach Parel from Vile Parle," said Shekar Meshram, a chartered accountant. 
    The continuous showers that started at 1 am on Tuesday coincided with the high tide of 4.88 mat12.43pm.Trainservicestookabeatingwith services on the Harbour Line being suspended between Chunnabhati and Kurla from 2.15 pm and 5.09 pm and again between 6 pm and 6.27 pm. BEST operated 16 extra buses from Wadala and 13 extra buses from Kurla to aid Harbour Line passengers. 

    Suburban services on Central Railway's main line ran approximately 15-20 minutes behind schedule. Services between CST and Bandra/Andheri and the trans-harbour line were running on schedule. "At 7.15 p.m, 70 services onHarbourLineand28servicesonthemainline were cancelled," a railway official said. 
    "Any tide above 4.5 metres is unusually high and is a cause of concern, because combined with more than 65 mm rainfall in a day, it can result in water-logging in the low-lying areas," said BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte. He added that all agencies concerned with disaster management and relief and rescue operations have been put on high alert and people have beenwarnedagainstventuringoutdoors,unless absolutely essential. 
    The civic officials also blamed the Met department for not issuing the heavy rainfall alert inthemorning."Theforecastissuedtousat9am said frequent spells of shower or rain would occurwithoneortwoheavyspells.Theyissuedthe 'heavy to very heavy' rainfall warning only at 1 pm," said an official. 

    As per the civic body's automatic weather stations, the city received 91.24 mm, western suburbs 80.44 mm and eastern suburbs 96.76 mm average rainfall between 8 am and 6 pm. High tides coupled with heavy rain are expected to continue till Friday, with a 4.95 m high tide at 1.27 pm on Wednesday, high tide of 4.89 m at 2.10 pm on Thursday and a 4.71 m high tide at 2.53 pm on Friday. 

    "A huge amount of water accumulated near Kurla north end. Even the slow line between Sion and Kurla saw a steady rise in water levels throughtheafternoon.Servicesonmainlinebetween CST, Kalyan and beyond were almost 45 minutes to one hour late," a railway official said, adding that continuous announcements were being made for the convenience of the commuters. 
    IMD's Mumbai director V K Rajeev said, "Mumbai, Konkan, central Maharashtra and Marathwada will experience heavy to very heavy rains in the next 72 hours. We will review the warning every 12 hours." According to IMD, heavy rains means 7-14 cm and very heavy rains means 14-25 cm within a 24-hour rain cycle. IMD officials have also asked people to ignore any SMS warning of heavy floods in Mumbai, saying these were being circulated by rumourmongers. 

    As per BMC records, water-logging was reportedatHindmata,Sion,ElphinstoneRoad,Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, DN Nagar in Andheri (W), Andheri Subway, LBS marg in Mulund and Subhash Nagar in Chembur, among other areas. 
    The civic body's disaster control room received around 20 complaints of tree fall and two complaints of wall collapse. In the first incident, reported from Barfiwala Lane in Andheri (W), two teenagers were injured and admitted to Cooper hospital. They were reported to be in a stable condition.







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