Who Is To Blame For The 2020 Mumbai Floods?

Tanvi Deshpande, Mongabay-India
·2-min read

With ‘unprecedented’ being the mantra for 2020 events, the monsoon floods in India’s commercial capital, Mumbai, too, followed suit and reached areas that were never flooded before. South Mumbai was lashed with its second-highest 24-hour rainfall since 1974 on August 5 and the city witnessed wind speed higher than what was recorded during Cyclone Nisarga, a tropical storm that hit the state in June. Citizens and activists blame infrastructure work including the coastal road project and the Mumbai Metro project and highlight the need for long-term planning to address the impact of increasing extreme weather events in the city.

Prior to August 5, the national weather forecaster, India Meteorological Department (IMD), had issued a red alert for Mumbai and adjoining regions of Thane, Palghar and Raigad districts for August 4 and 5. On August 5, Mumbai witnessed 294 millimetres rainfall in just 12 hours – the IMD categorises rainfall more than 204 mm (in 24 hours) as ‘extremely heavy’. On August 6 morning, the IMD’s observatory in Colaba (Mumbai) had recorded 331.8 mm rainfall in 24 hours. This was not only the highest August rainfall since 1974 but also the second-highest 24-hour rainfall recorded by Colaba observatory in any month of monsoon since 1974. Colaba observatory is representative of South Mumbai whereas the Santacruz observatory is representative of Mumbai. The other noteworthy characteristic of the August 5 weather was the wind speed was about 106 kilometres per hour (kmph) which is more than 92 kmph recorded when Cyclone Nisarga skirted Mumbai in June.

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