The man in the street was surprised to witness such intense rain in September, and the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) statistics echoed this observation.
Multiple locations received an overwhelming 300mm of rain within a 24-hour span, Dharavi leading the scorecard with 341mm. Santacruz recorded 286.4mm, the season’s highest single-day rainfall. IMD’s Santacruz observatory recorded 381.3mm rainfall in the 36 hours ending Wednesday night.
A green alert of light to moderate rain has been issued for Thursday.
“After discussing the weather report with the IMD, I took clearance from the chief minister and chief secretary in the morning, to declare a holiday… so that officegoers don’t face inconvenience…” said BMC chief Iqbal Chahal.
The night-long downpour caused waterlogging, leading to road closure and traffic disruption. The BEST had to divert a record number of 112 bus routes in 33 waterlogged locations. Thirty buses broke down. Train services were stalled through the day on the Harbour Line, while Central Railway resumed trains in phases till Thane by 7.45pm. Western Railway restored services to Virar after 4pm.
Some of the arterial roads that were submerged were the stretches outside Byculla police station, Oberoi Mall in Goregaon, JJ flyover, Minara Masjid junction, Dadar railway station, Bawla Compound, Gol Dewool, Wadi Port junction, Hindmata, Khetwadi, Girgaum, Alibhai Premji Marg, Sleater Road and Cotton Green. Andheri and Malad subways were closed for a time. Traffic along the Eastern Freeway was diverted even as vehicles were found abandoned on the Western Express Highway after being partially submerged.
Throughout Wednesday, civic authorities put their nose to the grind tackling natural and manmade challenges. A mudslide occurred on a hill slope near Hanging Garden, breaking the retaining wall of Khareghat Parsi Colony.
The BMC’s overhead pipeline with its ‘high-power pump’ failed to work near the waterlogged Gandhi Market at King’s Circle, exacerbating flooding in the area. Nair Hospital campus outside Mumbai Central station remained flooded for over 12 hours. “Covid-19 patients admitted in the tent outside had to be shifted to the hospital building early in the morning as the water levels were rising,” said a doctor.
The Parsis of Avabai Kashinath Colony in nearby Tardeo were aghast to see their cars and motorcycles rapidly get submerged under deep water. “I have not witnessed such flooding since my childhood in the eighties, not even during the July 26, 2005 deluge. This is unprecedented,” said a resident.
Neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai went under too. With 260mm average rainfall in 24 hours in Cidco and PCMC areas, low-lying locations in Navi Mumbai were waterlogged. Thane received 85.3mm rainfall in the 12-hour period till Wednesday night.