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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chaos relief rain down on Mumbai

Rail Traffic Severely Disrupted, Roads Flooded, Mithi Crosses Danger Mark, But Water Stocks Improve In Catchments

Mumbai: Life in Mumbai was thrown out of gear on Tuesday during the wettest day the city experienced so far this monsoon. The incessant showers, which caused road, rail and flight disruptions, actually began on Monday night. On Tuesday (8.30am to 8.30pm), the Met department reported 44.1 mm of rain in Colaba and 166 mm in Santa Cruz.
    The eastern suburbs were the hardest hit, with the BMC reporting 104mm of rain there on Tuesday from 8.30am till 3.30pm. Since 8.30 pm Monday, the figure was 296 mm. The western suburbs and island city had 66 mm and 31 mm respectively on Tuesday, and 177 mm and 184 mm since Monday night.

    Though civic officials had earlier claimed that the city was ready to tackle rain of up to 350 mm at nonhigh-tide times, Tuesday's downpour flooded several areas and caused severe traffic jams. Central Railway, which serves the eastern suburbs, saw its main and harbour lines brought to a standstill for around three hours. A commuter who caught a train at Sion at 3.30 pm to reach Badlapur was still stuck at Thane at 9.30 pm.
    While there were traffic snarls, Mumbaikars also waded through waist-deep waters. Low-lying areas like King's Circle, Sion, Milan Subway, Linking Road and S V Road in Bandra-Khar, most of Kurla and Hindmata-Parel were inundated. The BMC had claimed to have complet
ed many flood-mitigation measures, including widening and desilting the Mithi River, widening drains, clearing railway drains and so on. The Mithi River crossed the danger mark of 2.7 m and went as high as 3.1 m.
    Mulund-based Reena Manish, who had to catch a flight to Dubai at 7 pm, managed to reach the airport only an hour in advance, as the roads around Powai and Goregaon were flooded. "It took me three hours to reach the airport due to flooding,'' he said.
    Several schools and colleges were either shut or sent students home early. Many office-goers chose to stay home. By evening, though the rains had receded, the roads were almost empty. Trains and BEST buses were surprisingly deserted at peak hours. Perhaps, the memory of 26/7, when Colaba got 77 mm and Santa Cruz got 944 mm of rain, made people opt for caution.

    Traffic police said movement on the Western and Eastern Express Highways was affected badly due to water-logging at several places there. In two instances in Kurla, the compound walls of two homes collapsed, but there were no injuries. As many as 30 trees were uprooted and three persons were injured after a tree fell in Powai in the morning.
    "This was the heaviest rainfall this season. Though there was water-logging in some places, the water receded after it stopped raining,'' said S S Shinde, deputy municipal commissioner.

COLABA 44.1 mm SANTA CRUZ 166 mm Rainfall from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm | Source: Met dept
    As many as 158 pumps were deployed across the city on Tuesday to help floodwaters recede
A high tide of 3.89 metres was expected around 4.15 pm on Tuesday, but the rains had ebbed by 4 pm

HAVING A BALL (FOR OTHERS IT WAS A HEADACHE): Wading through the floodwaters at Milan subway; a train is halted in its tracks at Kurla; vehicles negotiate through a flooded street outside Jogeshwari station


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