Representative image

(Jipson Sikhera/TOI, BCCL/Kochi )

Monday, August 1: Intense downpours over the weekend compensated for last week’s scanty rainfall in Kerala, while flooding rains in coastal and southern districts in Karnataka forced authorities to declare school holidays. Kerala’s Pathanamthitta registered a maximum of 150 mm rainfall on Sunday, followed by Idukki and Kollam at around 100 mm.

This week, both the meteorological subdivisions are expected to witness similar inclement weather conditions as the monsoon turns vigorous over the region. The prevalence of a trough and a shear zone over South India will continue to intensify downpours over Kerala. Meanwhile, Karnataka will keep experiencing heavy rains in its coastal areas, with some more intensification from Tuesday onwards.

This week’s rain will be a product of the North-South trough that currently runs from south Chhattisgarh all the way to Tamil Nadu, as well as a shear zone over South Peninsular India. The shear zone continues to move northwards from Tuesday, dumping large amounts of moisture across southern states.

The combination of these systems will result in fairly widespread to widespread rains lashing Kerala and coastal Karnataka till Friday (August 5), with added chances of heavy to very heavy downpours in localised areas. Thunderstorms will continue to add to the inclement weather during this time period as well, according to predictions by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Apart from this, Kerala may also have to endure extremely heavy rains from Monday to Thursday, while coastal and southern Karnataka will likely bear the brunt of extreme rains from Wednesday to Friday.

In lieu of these predictions, the IMD has placed Kerala on a red warning (meaning ‘take action’) till Thursday (August 4), following which it is likely to downgrade to an orange alert (meaning ‘be prepared’) for Friday (August 5). Meanwhile, coastal Karnataka will remain on an orange alert from Tuesday to Friday.

As for specific district-level warnings, the following areas will remain under orange alert for the next few days:

  • Monday and Tuesday (Aug 1-2): Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram
  • Wednesday, Aug 3: Ernakulam, Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad
  • Thursday, Aug 4: Entire Kerala except for Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram

Due to its location and geography, Kerala has always been the subject of heavy monsoon rains. This fresh spell of heavy rains has already led to flash floods, reportedly claiming the lives of at least five people in several rain-related incidents from different parts of the state. Landslides and floods destroyed several houses in hilly parts of Kottayam. Many important roads in Kochi and other areas have been facing waterlogging and significant traffic disruptions since Monday. Many schools in vulnerable areas have been suspended due to the alerts.

Officials have also closed down waterfalls as part of safety precautions after two were swept away at Kumbhavurutty falls earlier today. Search and rescue efforts in many places have begun as rivers (such as the Kallar and Meenachil rivers) and other water bodies started to flow in spate. With many catchment areas receiving incessant heavy rains, some of the Neyyar and Aruvikkara dam shutters were slightly lifted on Sunday to start draining water from their reservoirs. Alerts have been issued to close-by riverbank residents.

The Kumbhavurutty, Palaruvi, Kallar, Ponmudi, Adavi, Neyyar, Kottoor, and Peppara tourism centres would also remain closed until conditions get better in the area, officials informed.

Despite this precarious situation this week, the rainfall over Kerala has only been normal so far. Between July 1 and 31, the state has witnessed 652 mm of rains, only 1 mm below its monthly average. Meanwhile, coastal Karnataka has fared much better, accumulating 1489 mm of rainfall over its normal of 1089 mm, leading to a 37% increase in total rainfall in July.

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