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Heavy rains on Tuesday pummelled Mumbai and adjoining areas, disrupting rail, road and air services and throwing normal life out of gear.
Besides the metropolis, adjoining Navi Mumbai and Thane regions were also lashed by incessant downpour since last night, delaying suburban train services and leaving vehicles crawling through waterlogged roads in low-lying areas.
As the financial capital stopped in its tracks, there was no respite in sight, with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting "extremely heavy rainfall" in the next 24 to 48 hours in the western coast of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, and parts of Gujarat and Goa.
Traffic jams were reported at all major arterial roads, including the Eastern and Western Express Highway, Sion-Panvel highway and LBS Marg as the rains continued since last night.
Waterlogging was reported in low-lying areas of Parel and Sion. A tree fell on the busy Saat Rasta road, affecting road traffic.
Suburban services were disrupted with trains on all the three lines -- western, central and harbour -- running late. Waterlogging on tracks was reported at Andheri and Bandra, civic officials said.
The city airport saw flight disruptions since morning. Due to heavy wind and downpour, six to seven flights had to do rounds while landing, while four to five flights were diverted to nearby airports. These included an IndiGo Guwahati-Mumbai flight which was diverted to Ahmadabad, airport officials said.
The single runway of the airport was, however, functional. A Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport spokesperson said there was an average delay of 35 minutes. "Heavy rains and strong winds have drastically reduced visibility leading to diversions and go-arounds, even though the main runway is open," a Mumbai airport source told PTI.
Suburban rail services, the lifeline of the metropolis, were paralysed. The Central Railway-run harbour line, which connects CSMT to Panvel, remained suspended since 11:30 am, railways officials said.
Traffic snarls were witnessed on the Eastern Freeway, Dr BR Ambedkar Road, Western Express highway, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Amitesh Kumar said. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the situation was well under control and advised citizens to step out of their homes only if necessary.
"The metropolis has received heavy rainfall since last night. Between 8.30 am and 12 pm today, the city received 85 mm rainfall," Sudhir Naik, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, told PTI. "Step out of homes only if it is too important because waterlogging has been reported from several parts of the city," he said.
Naik, however, added things were well under control and senior civic officials were keeping a close watch on the situation. "Due to waterlogging on tracks and point failure at Bandra following very heavy rains, three lines except UP Fast line are affected. Efforts are on to start traffic on 3 lines (except UP fast line) at Bandra as soon as possible by attending the points," the Western Railway tweeted.
An official from the BMC's Disaster Management Cell said: "There have been reports of waterlogging at Dadar, Andheri, Worli, Kurla and Sakinaka, among other areas. We have received 20 cases of trees falling and one of a wall collapse. Despite heavy downpour, no untoward incident has been reported so far."
"Areas such as Mumbai, south Gujarat, Konkan, Goa and west Vidarbha will get extremely heavy rainfall in the next 24 to 48 hours. It is a serious situation. We have issued necessary warnings to the departments concerned, including airports," A K Srivastav, head of climate monitoring and analysis at IMD Pune, told PTI.
"The status of the weather system, which has brought heavy showers over the Mumbai region, has been upgraded from 'well marked low pressure' to 'depression'. It means it is set to bring more rains. Hence, we have predicted an extremely heavy rainfall," he said.
In the morning, commuters bound for offices were stranded at several suburban stations. In the absence of train services, major suburban stations were overcrowded. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was chock-a-block, with commuters anxiously waiting for trains to head home.
"Stuck in a local train between two stations #MumbaiRains no announcements if the train will go ahead. Utter #chaos," Vidya Kumar, a passenger stranded at Bandra station for over an hour, tweeted, tagging @RailMinIndia and @drmbct, the Twitter handle of DRM WR Mumbai Central.
Actor-turned-entrepreneur Gul Panag tweeted: "Brace yourself Mumbai. Heavy rain coming. Plan ahead. Stay safe.
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