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(Chetan Shivakumar/BCCL)

Wednesday, August 3: Venturing out in Bengaluru during the monsoons is always a gamble. One moment you could be enjoying the cool breeze and the pretty clouds, loudly exclaiming how lovely the weather is; and the next, you could be drenched from head to toe, wading through sometimes knee-deep murky rainwater.

The latter scenario was pretty much the fate of any Bangalorean who dared to step out of their home in the evening hours on Tuesday (August 2). And as the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) forecasts and the gloomy skies have made abundantly clear, the torrential downpours in almost the entire state of Karnataka have no intention of slowing down at least for the next three days.

As per the IMD’s predictions, the following meteorological conditions will prevail over the southern state in the coming days:

  • Fairly widespread to widespread rains accompanied by isolated heavy falls (64.5 mm-115.5 mm), thunderstorms and lightning across Karnataka from Wednesday to Saturday (August 3-6)
  • Isolated extremely heavy rainfall (204 mm) over Coastal and South Interior Karnataka from Wednesday to Friday (August 3-5)
  • Isolated very heavy showers (115.5 mm-204 mm) over South Interior Karnataka on Saturday (August 6), North Interior Karnataka between Thursday and Saturday (August 4-6) and Coastal Karnataka over the weekend (August 6 and 7)

In view of these forecasts, a red warning (meaning ‘take action’) has been issued over Coastal and South Interior Karnataka for the next three days (until August 5). This will be followed by an orange alert (meaning ‘be prepared’) over the entire state on Saturday (August 6) so as to warn locals of the inclement weather.

Uttara Kannada, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, Chikmagalur and Shimoga districts will be on red warning until August 5. Bengaluru, Chamarajanagar, Mysore, Bagalkot, Tumkur and Bellary districts will fluctuate between yellow (‘be updated’) and orange (‘be prepared’) alerts for the rest of the week.

These wet conditions over Karnataka can be attributed to two systems: a shear zone running over south peninsular India in middle tropospheric levels and a north-south trough running from south Chhattisgarh to the Comorin area at lower tropospheric levels.

Impact of rain fury in Karnataka

Light to moderate rains and thunderstorms threw normal life out of gear in Bengaluru city on Tuesday, resulting in traffic jams and waterlogging in certain low-lying areas like Sai Layout and Yelachenahalli. Over 50 vehicles were damaged due to the downpours.

Five people were killed in rain-related incidents in Karnataka on Tuesday alone. A family of four was killed after a portion of a hill collapsed on their house following heavy rains in Muttalli village of Bhatkal taluk in the Uttara Kannada district. In another incident, a biker was washed away in the flash floods in the Kalaburagi district.

Meanwhile, incessant rainfall since Monday has claimed at least eight lives in Coastal and North Karnataka districts. Nearly 500 people have been evacuated from their residences across the state in the last couple of days.

Heavy showers between the Murdeshwar and Bhatkal sections in the Karwar region of the Konkan Railway also disrupted the railway lines after the area witnessed 403 mm of rain in just five hours on Tuesday. As per the railway authorities, the restoration work is still in progress.

Since the beginning of the monsoon season in June, rain-related incidents have resulted in 39 deaths and the destruction of roughly 2,430 houses in Karnataka, according to official statistics released by the state government on Tuesday.

The intense precipitation activity has impacted the state’s overall rainfall stats as well. Between June 1 and August 2, Karnataka has witnessed ‘excess’ rains — recording 611.1 mm precipitation and deviating from its average of 470.5 mm by 30%.

How to protect ourselves from floods

Considering the forecasts for the week, flash floods can occur at any time due to heavy rains, storm surges, coastal storms, or overflows from a local dam or other waterways. They can quickly become life-threatening, so paying attention to any alerts from the National Weather Service about your area is important.

If you receive a flood warning, move to a safer location, or stay put if you’re already on high ground. Avoid crossing bridges as water can rise and take out bridges without warning. Do not try to wade through the rainwater if you’re on foot — all it takes is six inches of water to knock you over, especially if it’s moving quickly.

Don’t use electricity in a flooded home or leave it on if you’re evacuating. If water touches live electrical outlets, you could be electrocuted, or it could cause a devastating fire.

If you must leave your home, make sure you secure your home, bring in outdoor furniture and move essential items to an upper floor. Further, remember to turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so, disconnect electrical appliances and refrain from touching electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.

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