Mumbai rains: City comes to a halt as rail, road and air services get paralysed

Mumbai: Torrential rain accompanied by strong winds pummelled Mumbai on Tuesday, disrupting rail, road and air services, uprooting trees, swamping homes, and bringing the megapolis and satellite towns to their knees.

Rains in Mumbai on Tuesday. Firstpost/Nimish Sawant

Rains in Mumbai on Tuesday. Firstpost/Nimish Sawant

People's woes were compounded by the high tide that prevented natural drainage of water into the sea. Meteorological department sources said Mumbai recorded copious rain of 65 mm in just three hours.

Thousands of vehicles were stranded on arterial roads in Lower Parel, Dadar, Kurla, Andheri, Khar West, Ghatkopar, Sion and Hindmata areas that were under knee to waist deep water for several hours, many having broken down.

Trains were running late or stopped on all three suburban railway lines — Central, North and Harbour lines — as tracks were submerged at several places.

Having waited for hours on end with water showing no signs of receding, fidgety passengers were seen jumping off
stationary trains and walking along the tracks to their destinations.

Commuters were seen standing under knee deep water on the steps of buses in low lying areas like Parel. Traffic crawled at snail's pace on important roads, including the Eastern and Western Express Highway, Sion-Panvel highway and LBS Marg.

"The metropolis has received heavy rainfall since last night. Between 8.30 am and 12 pm on Tuesday, the city received 85 mm rainfall," Sudhir Naik, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, told PTI.

According to the civic body's disaster management cell, at least 20 incidents of trees fall and one of wall collapse were reported from across the city but there were no casualties.

"Heavy waterlogging expected in coming hours due to heavy showers coupled with high tide. Pls chk ur route before
venturing out," the Mumbai police said in a tweet, advising people to remain indoors.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis visited the State Disaster Management Control (SDMC) room and took stock of the situation.

"I have asked employees at mantralaya, the state secretariat to leave for their homes. Employees in other offices have also been allowed to head to their homes. We have advised (private) offices to allow their employees to leave
for their homes early today," Fadnavis said.

He said the situation was being monitored closely and necessary advisories would be issued from time to time.

Aircraft have stopped landing at the city airport after 4 pm but were taking off, officials said.Flight operations at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport saw delay and disruptions since morning.Due to strong winds and downpour since morning, six to seven flights had to do go around while landing, while four to some were diverted to nearby airports, mainly Ahmedabad.

A Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport spokesperson said there was an average delay of 35 minutes. "Heavy rain and strong winds have drastically reduced visibility leading to diversions and go round even though the main runway is open," a Mumbai airport source told PTI.

Suburban rail services, the lifeline of the metropolis, were thrown out of gear. The Central Railway-run harbour line, which connects CSMT to Panvel, remained suspended since 11:30 am, railways officials said.

"Due to waterlogging on tracks & point failure at Bandra following very heavy rains, 3 lines except UP Fast line are affected. Efforts are on to start traffic on 3 lines (except UP fast line) at Bandra as soon as possible by attending the points," the Western Railway tweeted.

"Areas such as Mumbai, south Gujarat, Konkan, Goa and west Vidarbha will get extremely heavy rainfall in the next
24 to 48 hours. It is a serious situation. We have issued necessary warnings to the departments concerned, including airports," A K Srivastav, head of climate monitoring and analysis at IMD Pune, told PTI.

"The status of the weather system, which has brought heavy showers over the Mumbai region, has been upgraded from 'well marked low pressure' to 'depression'. It means it is set to bring more rains. Hence, we have predicted an extremely heavy rainfall," he said.

In the morning, commuters bound for offices were stranded at several suburban stations.

In absence of train services, major suburban stations were overcrowded. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was chock-a-block with commuters anxiously waiting for trains to head home.

Charan Singh, Director, India Meteorological Department, said a 'Red' warning has been issued for the next 24 hours for the city and adjoining areas, indicating there could be very heavy rainfall. He said the city and surrounding areas would continue to receive heavy rainfall over the next two to three days.

Updated Date: Aug 29, 2017 20:08 PM

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