Mumbai: The Monsoon in Maharashtra doesn’t seem to die off soon, as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday has issued a red alert for six districts of the state which have been already pounded by heavy rains. The weather department forecasted “extremely heavy” rainfall and recommended preventive actions.
The “red alert” was issued for the next 24 hours for the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg in coastal Konkan and also for Pune, Satara and Kolhapur in Western Maharashtra. Extremely heavy rainfall is “very likely” at isolated places in ghat (hilly/upland) areas, the weather office said.
“Very likely” denotes 51-75% probability of occurrence. The forecast for Satara is “most likely”, which means a probability of over 75%, an IMD official said.
A rainfall above 204.4 mm in 24 hours is considered as extremely heavy. The forecast also included red alert for Ratnagiri and Satara for Saturday. Intensity of showers will drastically come down from Sunday onward, the IMD said.
At least 67 people have died in Maharashtra after torrential monsoon rains caused landslides and flooded low-lying areas, cutting off hundreds of villages.
Parts of the country’s west coast received up to 594 mm (23 inches) of rainfall over 24 hours, forcing authorities to evacuate people from vulnerable areas as they released water from dams that were threatening to overflow.
“Unexpected very heavy rainfall triggered landslides in many places and flooded rivers,” Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who heads Maharashtra’s state government, told journalists.
“Dams and rivers are overflowing. We are forced to release water from dams, and, accordingly, we are moving people residing near the river banks to safer places.”
The navy and army were helping with rescue operation in coastal areas, he added.
At least 36 people were killed in Taliye, 180 km (112 miles) southeast of the financial capital Mumbai, when a landslide flattened most of the small village, said Vijay Wadettiwar, a minister in the state government.
At least four people died in Mumbai after a building collapsed, and another 27 were killed in other parts of Maharashtra due to landslides and accidents linked to the heavy rainfall, state government officials said.
Several dozen people were also feared to have been trapped in landslides in Satara and Raigad districts, said a state government official who asked not to be named.
“Rescue operations are going on at various places in Satara, Raigad and Ratnagiri. Due to heavy rainfall and flooded rivers, we are struggling to move rescue machinery quickly,” he said.
Thousands of trucks were stuck on a national highway linking Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, with the road submerged in some places, another Maharashtra government official said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of villages and towns were without electricity and drinking water, he said.
Rivers were also overflowing in the neighbouring southern states of Karnataka and Telangana where authorities were monitoring the situation, government officials there said.