Heavy Rains Flood Mumbai Roads and Rails, Disrupts Flights, Closes Schools

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Heavy rains inundated roads and railway lines on Monday in Mumbai, India’s financial hub, causing flight disruptions and the closure of schools and colleges, while overflowing rivers elsewhere affected over 2 million people.

More than 300 mm (11.8 inches) of rain battered the city of 12 million within six hours until 7:00 a.m. (02:30 WAT), just before the morning rush hour, civic officials stated.

With predictions of further heavy rain and a high tide of 4.40 metres (14 ft) in the coastal city, authorities shut schools and colleges for the day as a precaution.

“There is severe traffic congestion on the roads, and rail lines are also impacted,” said Eknath Shinde, the chief minister of Maharashtra, the western state with Mumbai as its capital, on X, urging residents to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.

Commuters navigated knee-deep water that partially submerged vehicles in numerous areas, while traffic jams clogged the city’s Eastern and Western Express highways.

Water on the tracks forced railway authorities to cancel some long-distance trains, while television footage showed suburban passenger trains, a crucial transport means for millions, halted on flooded lines.

The rains, along with low visibility, led airport authorities to suspend runway operations for over an hour from 2:22 a.m., airport sources reported.

More than 300 flights were delayed and 36 cancelled, according to tracking service Flightradar24’s website.

India’s largest airline, low-cost carrier IndiGo, stated on X that its Mumbai flights were affected by the heavy rain, while another budget airline, SpiceJet, also warned of disruptions due to adverse weather.

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The heavy rainfall came days after record-breaking showers in New Delhi that led to the fatal collapse of an airport roof.

Torrential monsoon rains have also triggered floods and landslides in northern and eastern India, as well as in neighbouring Nepal, where at least 11 people were killed.

More than 2 million people have been impacted by river flooding in northeastern Assam, where the Kaziranga National Park, home to the rare one-horned rhinoceros, was inundated, resulting in six of the animals drowning, authorities said on Sunday.

State authorities reported that 66 people have died in floods and rain-related incidents since May.

Flooding has also affected 31 villages in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, located on the Nepal border, the state government stated.

Nancy Mbamalu 

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