Mumbai's flooded streets return to normal after record heavy rains subside

People walk through a flooded road as a water tanker is seen stuck due to heavy rains in Mumbai, India.
People walk through a flooded road as a water tanker is seen stuck due to heavy rains in Mumbai, India.PHOTO: REUTERS

MUMBAI (Bloomberg) - Rainfall eased in Mumbai over the weekend, allowing the authorities to restore transportation networks after the heaviest June rainfall in a decade on Friday closed schools and disrupted businesses in India's financial hub.

Commuter rail services have been restored and no major traffic snarls are expected on Monday, said Mr Vijay Khabale Patil, a spokesman for the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. The city received 9.9cm of rain in the 24 hours to 8.30am on Sunday, less than half the amount that fell in a similar period to Friday morning, the weather office said on its website.

The century-old drainage system in this city of 19 million people leaves it susceptible to floods in the four-month rainy season. On Friday, cars and motorcycles could be seen floating in flooded streets, while taxi service and other public transport networks closed, and authorities ordered schools shut.

The downpours awakened memories of July 26, 2005, when a storm dumped three feet of rain at high tide in Mumbai, a record in India going back a century. That deluge left more than 570 people dead, grounded flights and cut off rail and road links.

Intermittent showers are forecast for the next 24 hours, with "heavy to very heavy" rains in a few places, the weather office said on Sunday.

Almost 80 per cent of the nation received excess or normal rainfall since June 1, defying weather bureau forecasts that El Nino would curb precipitation.

Farmers depend on the monsoon, which accounts for more than 70 per cent of annual rainfall, for drinking water and crop irrigation, and to feed hydroelectric power plants. The rains irrigate more than half of India's farmland, where sowing begins in June.