Incessant heavy rains and strong winds battered Mumbai and its adjoining areas on Wednesday, with public transport operating, already at limited capacity due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, disrupted further due to water-logging on rail tracks and roads. The deluge on Wednesday evening brought up fears of the 2005 floods that had submerged large parts of the city.
Extremely heavy rains will continue to batter Mumbai and its neighbouring areas until Thursday morning, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in a special bulletin.
"Strong winds with speed reaching 70 kmph along and off the Mumbai and adjoining Konkan coast likely to continue till 6th morning and gradually reduce thereafter. Extremely heavy rainfall is also likely to continue over Mumbai tonight and reduce from tomorrow 6th August," it said.
In another bulletin, the IMD said widespread rainfall with isolated, scattered heavy to very heavy falls are most likely to continue over Gujarat, central Maharashtra, the ghat areas till August 6 and reduce after it.
As the city was lashed by incessant rain, the Mumbai police on Wednesday evening issued an alert asking people not to venture outside unnecessarily.
Mumbai is expected to receive heavy rain at isolated places tomorrow as well. We urge all to not step out unless necessary and stay away from water bodies & water logged areas. Citizens are requested to take all precautions & #Dial100 in case of an emergency. — Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice) August 5, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray about the prevailing situation and assured all possible support, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Maharashtra CM Shri Uddhav Thackeray regarding the situation prevailing in Mumbai and surrounding areas due to heavy rainfall," said the PMO in a tweet.
Thackeray urged people to stay indoors and venture out only for essential work. He took stock of the situation and asked the BMC to coordinate with the police and railway authorities, health machinery and NDRF to ensure that citizens do not face any hardships.
Damage to infrastructure
The heavy rain and high-velocity winds, in one instance gusting to 107 km/hr in Colaba, damaged the signage atop the iconic Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) building.
Gusty winds led to claddings flying off at the Jaslok Hospital in south Mumbai, while heavy rains prompted water-
logging at the state government-run JJ Hospital where doctors were seen wading through ankle-deep water.
In Navi Mumbai, the canopy of the roofing of DY Patil Stadium was uprooted by heavy winds, while three high-capacity cranes at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) in adjoining Raigad district collapsed in the afternoon.
"Due to high-speed winds, three key cranes fell at one of our terminals, but no one was injured in the incident," said JNPT Chairperson Sanjay Sethi.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescued around 290 passengers from two local trains stranded amid heavy
rains between Masjid Bunder and Byculla stations in the evening.
Railway sources said overhead wire and equipment were damaged near Charni Road station in Mumbai due to a tree collapse and a fire caused by sparks.
Rains also lashed Pune, Satara and Kolhapur districts in western Maharashtra, the officials said.
Dahanu in Palghar recorded over 350 mm rainfall in the 12-hour period ending at 5.30am on Wednesday, while some areas in Thane received over 150 mm during the period, said the IMD. Water-logging was reported in low-lying areas of Chembur, Parel, Hindmata, Wadala and other areas of Mumbai.
The railway authorities suspended the suburban train operations between CSMT-Vashi stations on the Harbour line, CSMT-Kurla on the Main line and also between Churchgate and Kurla due to water-logging on tracks around Masjid Bunder, Kurla, Sion, Marine Line and other stations.
The Western Railway also announced on Twitter that due to heavy rainfall, all local train services between Churchgate and Mumbai Central stations have been temporarily suspended till further orders.
Both the Central Railway and Western Railway have been operating nearly 350 special train services each daily for those working in essential and emergency services.
Bus services of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), the city civic body's transport wing, were also affected due to water-logging on some roads. A BEST spokesperson said their services were diverted on more than 30 routes, including two locations in Thane district, till 9 am.
NDRF teams have been stationed at both Thane and Palghar to deal with any eventualities, NDRF commandant Rajendra Patil said.
(With inputs from PTI)