Heaviest One-Day August Rain in 47 Years Slams Mumbai

By Pratik Parija | August 6, 2020

The heaviest one-day rain in August in 47 years in Mumbai, home to India’s financial markets and the central bank, inundated large parts of the mega city and disrupted businesses and services.

The Colaba weather station recorded 33.2 centimeters (13 inches) of rainfall in the 24 hours through 8:30 a.m. Thursday, the highest downpour for a single day in August since at least 1974, according to the India Meteorological Department. More spells of moderate to heavy rainfall are forecast for Thursday, accompanied by strong winds of as much as 80 kilometers per hour.

“It’s not a very regular thing” to witness intense showers continuing for several days, K.S. Hosalikar, deputy director general at the weather department’s Mumbai center, said late on Wednesday.

Heavy showers in the city may hamper its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Mumbai is among the worst affected cities in the country, which has more than 1.8 million confirmed infections and close to 40,000 deaths.

The signage on top of the BSE building toppled due to very heavy wind and incessant rain today. We are seeking the help of fire brigade to ensure that the signage doesn’t fall to the ground and injure any one or create property damage for any one. Please bear with us. -- Ashish Chauhan (@ashishchauhan) August 5, 2020

Gusty winds, sometimes over 100 kilometers per hour, damaged the signage on the top of the 29-story building housing Asia’s oldest stock exchange in downtown Mumbai, and the fire brigade was called in to ensure it didn’t crash to the ground, BSE Ltd.’s Chief Executive Officer Ashish Chauhan tweeted Wednesday evening.

The Reserve Bank of India, located a short stroll away from the BSE, is due to announce its monetary policy decision at noon local time on Thursday. Mumbai’s municipality reported small urban landslides that blocked traffic, waterlogged streets and falling trees that damaged electricity poles in certain parts of the city. A lake that supplies Mumbai with water began overflowing.

Authorities asked residents to stay indoors even as several offices are shut with employees working from home due to coronavirus-related lockdowns. As many as three cranes collapsed at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust on Wednesday, but no one was injured.

Local trains were suspended in some areas, while buses were diverted. Uddhav Thackeray, chief minister of the state of Maharashtra, of which Mumbai is the capital, asked local authorities to stay alert. The municipal corporation made arrangements for temporary shelters in some schools to move people from flooded areas, it said in a Twitter post.

Disruptions due to rains, which often flood roads and low-lying areas, are a regular occurrence in Mumbai during the monsoon season, as authorities in the mega city of 18 million grapple with crumbling infrastructure.

The Santacruz weather station recorded 16.2 centimeters of rainfall in the 24-hour period that ended at 8.30 a.m. on Thursday. The center witnessed 26.9 centimeters of showers in the 24-hour period by Aug. 4 morning, while Colaba got 25.2 centimeters, according to the weather office.

Rains have been 1% below normal across the country since June 1, according to the weather office. About 79% of the country received normal to excess showers during the period, while rest got deficient rain, it said.

–With assistance from David Marino and Jeanette Rodrigues.

About the photo: A motorist pushes his stalled bike while a woman walks on a road divider during a heavy monsoon rainfall in Mumbai on Aug. 4, 2020. Photographer: Sujit Jaiswal/AFP via Getty Images

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