Strong, squally winds reaching up to 114 km an hour and heavy rain lashed Mumbai as the extremely severe cyclonic storm, Tauktae, brushed past the Maharashtra coast on Monday.
While there was no confirmed loss of life reported in Mumbai till late evening, four people were reported missing after two boats drifted in the sea at Madh Island and Mahim Causeway.
In Mumbai, several parts witnessed waterlogging and 479 trees were uprooted across the city. Extreme weather conditions also led to road, rail and air traffic disruption. Many parts of the city in Versova, Kurla, Thane and Kalyan recorded power cuts for several hours.
The IMD’s Santacruz observatory recorded 194mm rain in 12 hours till 5.30 pm, which is the highest 24-hour rainfall recorded in May since 1974, when records began to be kept by the IMD. The previous 24-hour highest rainfall was 190.8mm on May 19, 2000. The average rainfall recorded in May is 11.3mm. As per the IMD’s Cyclone E-Atlas, a repository that tracks tropical cyclones and weather depressions over the north Indian Ocean since 1891, Tauktae is likely the first ESCS to have come close to the Mumbai coast (130 km) since 1980.
Of the 16 “severe cyclonic storm” or above category that crossed the west coast between 1980 and 2020, Nisarga had come close to the Mumbai coast (less than 100 km), however, it was weaker than Tauktae. Nisarga, which hit Shrivardhan in the Raigad district on June 3 last year, was a “severe cyclonic storm”.
According to the BMC’s Disaster Management Cell, at Madh jetty, a boat with five people drifted in the sea. While four people have been rescued, one person is missing. A Mumbai Sagari 1 police official said, “The incident took place around 9.30 am. One person is missing. The rescue operation had to be stopped due to heavy rain. The operation will resume early on Tuesday.”
In Mumbai, five people sustained injuries in two house collapse incidents at Chembur and Borivali. In another incident, three people received minor injuries after part of a crane fell on their house at Borivali east. The BMC received 27 calls of house collapse and 17 of short circuit incidents.
RECORD WIND SPEED
A record wind speed was registered in the city on Monday. At 12.15 pm, the BMC’s automated weather station recorded a wind speed of 111 kmph at Colaba station near Afgan Church. At 2 pm, the wind speed intensified to 114 kmph.
Last year, a similar wind speed was recorded on August 5 at 107 mph. The wind speed recorded in Mumbai when cyclone Nisarga made landfall in Raigad in June was 92 kmph. The normal wind speed for Mumbai during heavy rain days is between 25 kmph and 30 kmph.
Due to heavy rainfall, many parts of the city saw waterlogging. South Mumbai was worst affected as areas along the coastal road construction site witnessed flooding for several hours. Priyadarshini Park, Breach Candy, Haji Ali and Worli Seaface recorded waterlogging. Areas of Mantralaya and Marine Drive were also flooded.
Around 3 pm, due to high tide and heavy winds, seawater started splashing on the streets at the Gateway of India and Apollo Bunder. In areas like Parel, Hindmata, Mandavi, Mumbai Central, Bandra, Malad, Malwani and Goregaon waterlogging was reported in slums and building areas.
According to the BMC, the highest amount of rainfall was recorded in the H/East ward covering Kalina and Bandra east at 242 mm between 7 and 5.30 pm Monday. It was followed by 236 mm of rain in Chincholi, 231 mm in Andheri west and the Juhu area. Western suburbs recorded 114. 78 mm of rain in 12 hours ending at 5.30 pm. Island city recorded 105.44 mm of rain and eastern suburbs, 61.13 mm. The BMC on Monday received 4,848 waterlogging and rain-related calls.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT AFFECTED
Train services on Central and Western railway were affected as several trees fell on the tracks and overhead wires and waterlogging was reported on the tracks at a few stations.
The down line of slow local train services on the central railway between suburban Ghatkopar and Vikhroli were disrupted for around two hours as a branch of a tree fell on an overhead train moving towards Thane station around 9.10 am.
The services on harbour line too were affected after a vinyl banner fell on an overhead wire between the Chunabhatti and Guru Teg bahadur station around 11.45 am. Sources said till Monday evening, 13 trains of Central railways were cancelled, while around 40 were delayed and a few were diverted due to the disruption on the tracks.
Due to waterlogging on roads, the BEST too diverted the routes of around 72 buses and 109 buses saw technical failures. A total of 3312 buses were plying on the road.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA) shut down its operations for over 11 hours from 11 am to 10 pm in view of the weather conditions in the city. The airport had to divert 7 flights and a few airlines cancelled services to Mumbai. CSMIA registered the cancellations of 34 arrivals and 22 departures. It resumed operations by 10 pm on Monday night.
(INPUTS BY JAYPRAKASH S NAIDU, VALLABH OZARKAR)