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(SL Shanth Kumar/TOI, BCCL, Mumbai)

Thursday, July 22: Since the beginning of July 2021, the coastal region of Maharashtra and Goa has received a tremendous amount of rainfall (1059.1 mm)—so much so, that through this month, it has been the wettest subdivision across the country. Now, it appears the rainfall figures are set to witness another spike, as more intense spells have been forecast over the region for the next few days.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), an offshore trough that stretches from the coasts of Maharashtra to Karnataka is likely to prevail, while moist westerly winds blowing in from the Arabian Sea will continue to bring humidity over India’s west coast.

Under the influence of these factors, fairly widespread to widespread rains, along with isolated heavy falls and thunderstorms, have been forecast over western India for the next 3-4 days.

Coastal Maharashtra and Goa are expected to witness isolated heavy to extremely heavy rainfall on Thursday and Friday, July 22-23. Come Saturday, the intensity will decrease, and the region may experience isolated heavy to very heavy showers.

As for the Maharashtrian capital, isolated heavy to very heavy showers will be on the horizon across Mumbai for the next three days. Mumbaikars may also experience thunderstorms, with the daytime temperatures hovering around the 29°C mark.

Rain warnings and flood alerts in place

In view of the above predictions, the IMD has issued a red warning across Konkan & Goa on Thursday, which instructs residents to ‘take action’ and protect themselves from the rough weather. Thereafter, on Friday and Saturday, the advisory will be downgraded to an orange alert, which urges people to ‘be prepared’ for harsh conditions.

Within the subdivision, the IMD’s regional met centre in Mumbai has issued red warnings over the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri, Pune and Satara on Thursday due to the likelihood of extremely heavy falls, whereas Mumbai, Thane, Palghar and Sindhudurg have been placed under orange alerts owing to the possibility of very heavy showers.

For Friday and Saturday, all the aforementioned districts will remain under orange alerts.

As the entire coastal belt has received intense showers this week, multiple rivers across the state are currently flowing above danger levels. The extremely heavy downpour has led to an increased inflow in several west-flowing rivers in coastal Maharashtra, thereby creating severe to extreme flooding conditions.

According to the latest update provided by the Central Water Commission (CWC), river Bav at Niivali in Ratnagiri district and river Savitri at Mahad in Raigad district are both flowing in extreme flood situations as of Thursday morning. Moreover, the river Ulhas at Badlapur in Thane district has been flowing in a severe situation, while river Vashishti at Muradpur in Ratnagiri District is steadily rising above the Highest Flood Level (HFL).

Therefore, the CWC has urged the nearby residents as well as the concerned authorities to keep a watch on road traffic as well as the Konkan railway movement.

Record rains observed across the coast

According to reports, Maharashtra’s famous hill station of Mahabaleshwar recorded 480 mm precipitation on Wednesday, July 21, effectively breaking the all-time record of highest 24-hour rainfall in the month of July. And with this being the source region for the Krishna river and contributing to other west-flowing rivers, the record rain may play a role in the flooding at nearby low-lying areas.

Meanwhile, the city of Mumbai has recorded 982.4 mm rainfall so far this month, having already exceeded its July precipitation average of 827.2 mm. And with the offshore trough producing intense rains, coupled with the formation of a low-pressure in the Bay of Bengal aiding the monsoon activity along the west coast, the rainfall stats are only likely to rise in the days to come.

As for the seasonal precipitation, since the beginning of the monsoon season on June 1, the subdivision of Konkan & Goa has recorded 2032.7 mm rainfall—a whopping 45% higher than its average for this period (1402.7 mm). Thanks to the rain along the coastal region, Maharashtra has collectively registered a 22% excess too, having recorded 518.8 mm rainfall between July 1 and July 21.

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