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After incessant downpour threw life out of gear, disrupting road, rail and air traffic, Mumbai braced for another day of hardships even as let up in rains last night is expected to bring some relief today. Schools and colleges have been asked to remain shut by authorities amid indications of a fresh spell of heavy showers in the megapolis. The city and its suburbs virtually have a public holiday today with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis advising people to stay back home unless there is an emergency. "However, the essential services and critical staff in the government will be on duty today," Fadnavis said. Suburban train services on Western Railway resumed around midnight and those on the Central Railway are still struggling to come on track. Hundreds of people are still stranded at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus waiting for the journey back home. Mumbai's suburban train network, which carries over 65 lakh passengers a day, is the lifeline of the financial capital and halting of the services had led to severe inconvenience to many office goers who had braved the heavy rains to make it to their offices yesterday. Mumbai received 298 mm of rainfall over a period of 9 hours yesterday, nine times more rain than the average, an IMD official said. The spell of heavy rains is likely to continue today as well, he added. Traffic on the Eastern and Western Express highways, the two key arterial roads in Mumbai, which was crawling at a snail's pace yesterday, is slowly returning to normalcy. Navy helicopters are on standby in view of heavy rains in Mumbai and its adjoining areas.
Flood rescue teams and divers are also ready for deployment, a Navy spokesperson had said. Torrential rains had pounded the metropolis throughout the day yesterday. The city gauged a whopping 298 mm of rainfall, the highest in a day in August since 1997. Three persons, including two children were killed in Mumbai while a 32-year-old woman and a teenage girl died in rain-related incidents in Thane yesterday, police had said. Even as the city was pummelled by heavy rains, people in Mumbai opened their homes and hearts to strangers, offering assistance to those stranded in the rains that brought the megapolis to its knees. In many offices, employees stayed back in the night as they could not catch trains and buses for getting home. Under fire over the shoddy infrastructure in Mumbai, Shiv Sena which heads the municipal corporation, today sought to blame rain gods for the 'natural calamity' befalling Mumbaikars. Meanwhile, heavy rains continued in Marathwada region while rivers in adjoining Raigad district were in full spate.