Mumbai Flooded by Heavy Rainfall, More Rain Expected

Mumbai braced for another round of heavy rainfall over the next four to five days, as the weather bureau issued a warning. The city had already received over 300 mm of rainfall in just six hours, starting at 1 am on Monday. This downpour resulted in widespread flooding, affecting transportation networks, including suburban train services and flights. The impact extended beyond the city, with economic sectors also feeling the strain.

Sakshi Gupta, principal economist at HDFC Bank, highlighted the potential disruptions to mining and manufacturing sectors in Maharashtra, a recurring issue during monsoon season. However, she emphasized that the business and banking sectors, equipped with digital flexibility developed during the COVID-19 pandemic, remained largely unaffected. The only potential concern was physical deposits, which could be affected if the heavy rainfall persisted.

The Monday downpour marked the second highest rainfall recorded in Mumbai since 2005, falling short only of the record-breaking 944 mm rainfall on July 26, 2005. The heavy rain forced the cancellation of over 50 flights to and from Mumbai. Airlines took to social media platforms, including X, to notify passengers and urge them to check flight status before heading to the airport.

Central Maharashtra experienced 91% excess rain, totaling 13.4 mm, while the entire state recorded 92% excess precipitation at 17.8 mm in the past 24 hours. This led to a national rainfall surplus of 2% above normal, reaching 225.6 mm since the start of the four-month monsoon season (June-September). The weather bureau attributed the heavy rainfall to a cyclonic circulation over the Westcentral Bay of Bengal and adjoining northwest Bay of Bengal off the north Andhra Pradesh coast. This weather pattern is expected to bring very heavy rainfall to Konkan, Goa, and Madhya Maharashtra on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Similar heavy rainfall is predicted for Gujarat Region, Kerala, Mahe, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Yanam, and Interior Karnataka on Tuesday and Friday, with Coastal Karnataka also expected to experience heavy rainfall on Tuesday and Friday.

The weather bureau issued an orange alert for Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, and the Konkan belt, warning of extremely heavy rainfall. The Veer Savarkar Marg Municipal School in Vikhroli and the MCMCR Powai recorded the highest rainfall in the last 24 hours, exceeding 315 mm. In response, the BMC initially declared a holiday for the first session of all BMC, government, and private schools and colleges in Mumbai. Later in the day, the holiday was extended to include the second session as well.

The South-West monsoon, which arrived in Kerala two days earlier than usual on May 30, covered the entire country on July 2, six days ahead of its normal arrival date of July 8. While the monsoon progressed normally up to Maharashtra, it lost momentum, delaying rainfall in West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, regions already experiencing a heatwave.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted above-normal rainfall for July, with heavy rains potentially triggering floods in the western Himalayan states and river basins in central India. These predictions are partly attributed to the return of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to a neutral state and the anticipated formation of the cooler La Niña phase in the second half (August-September) of the monsoon season. La Niña, characterized by cooler sea surface temperatures in specific regions, typically occurs every 3-5 years, sometimes even in consecutive years. This phenomenon can lead to increased rainfall and distinct weather patterns, often resulting in floods.

The weather office also warned of very heavy rainfall in sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on Tuesday and Friday, with Bihar experiencing similar conditions between Wednesday and Friday. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Meghalaya are expected to receive heavy rainfall until Thursday, while Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura are likely to face the same conditions on Tuesday. The IMD also predicted extremely heavy rainfall in Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on Wednesday and Thursday, and in Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

Regarding northwest India, the IMD forecasted widespread light to moderate rainfall, accompanied by thunderstorms and lightning, over Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Central India over the next five days. Scattered to fairly widespread light to moderate rainfall is expected in Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, while isolated to scattered light or moderate rainfall is predicted for Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Muzaffarabad, Punjab, and Rajasthan during the same period.

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