Heavy rain and thundershower along with gusty winds, triggered by a well-marked low pressure, lashed Kolkata and other districts in south Bengal beginning Tuesday night.
The India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) regional office in south Kolkata registered around 72 mm rain till around 8:30 am since Tuesday morning.
IMD on Tuesday issued a red alert for very heavy rains in some districts of south Bengal on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In South 24 Parganas, one of the three coastal districts in West Bengal, more than 35,000 people were evacuated from low-lying areas, even as the local administration in East Midnapore and North 24 Parganas were keeping the relief shelters ready while maintaining a close watch on the situation.
“While red alert, the highest form of alert in the four graded rain alert system, was sounded for three districts of East Midnapore, West Midnapore and South 24 Parganas on Tuesday, for Wednesday it has been sounded for West Midnapore and Jhargram where there could be rainfall up to 200mm,” said an IMD official in Kolkata
Similarly, orange alert, the next category of alert has also been sounded for multiple districts in south Bengal such as North 24 Pargaas, South 24 Parganas, Bankura and Purulia among others.
“In Kolkata there has been water logging in some pockets such as New Alipore. The lock gates through which storm water is drained out of the city had to be closed for four hours in the morning as there was high tide in the river Hooghly. The gates would be again closed in the afternoon. If there is heavy rain during that time then there will be some water logging. The water level will recede once the gates are opened,” said Tarak Singh a member of KMC’s board of administrators overseeing the drainage and sewerage department.
Between 6 am and 9 am various drainage pumping stations in the city received between 17mm to 35mm rain. Mominpur with 35mm received the heaviest rain.
“The well-marked low pressure lay over central part of Gangetic West Bengal on Wednesday morning. It has been triggering rain and thundershower in more than a dozen districts including Kolkata, South 24 Parganas, North 24 Parganas. Murshudabad, Nadia, Birbhum, Bankura and the coastal areas,” said a senior official of IMD in Kolkata.
Officials from the state’s disaster management department said that even though a low pressure system is common during the monsoon, the district administrations, particularly in the coastal areas and a few other districts, swung into action as large areas are still inundated because of last week’s heavy rain. More rains could aggravate matters after Kolkata last week received the heaviest rain in September in one day for 14 years.
West Bengal didn’t have to bear the direct brunt of cyclone Gulab which hit Andhra Pradesh on September 26. The IMD, however, had forecasted that a cyclonic circulation would develop over the sea around September 27, which would trigger a low pressure. The low pressure system would bring heavy to very heavy rain in south Bengal, it had said.
“There could be water logging in low lying areas, damage to standing crops and mud houses and lightning. People have been advised to stay indoors, and avoid waterlogged areas and dilapidated houses,” the IMD official said.
The Bhabanipur by-election, from where Mamata Banerjee is contesting to retain her chief ministership, is scheduled on Septemnber 30. There is, however, no warning of heavy rain on that day in Kolkata.
Officials said that special care is being taken for Bhabanipur in south Kolkata to avoid any water logging.
“Heavy rains are expected. But even then I would request you to go to the booth with an umbrella and wearing a mask to cast your vote. Don’t waste a single vote,” Mamata Banerjee, chief minister had said last week.
Over the past one week some districts received more than three times excess rain. More than a dozen people were killed due to electrocution in water-logged areas in various districts. At least 120,000 people had to be evacuated from two districts.
The Kolkata Police have set up a unified command centre at its headquarters. Officials from the fire brigade, public works department, power supply corporation, city’s civic body and police will remain stationed at the centre. At least 22 teams have been formed for providing assistance and relief.
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