Threat of further landslips and floods looms over Kerala as meteorological conditions on Monday pointed to continued heavy downpour for at least two more days.
The 24 hours ending at 8.30 a.m. on Monday saw the State experience the heaviest downpour this monsoon. The State got an area-weighted rainfall of more than 8 cm during the day, rainfall charts of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) show. Idukki district, where a number of landslips occurred on Monday, received nearly 20 cm of rainfall.
The IMD recorded rainfall of 21 cm at Peerumede, 20 cm at Thodupuzha, 18 cm at Munnar, 22 cm at Idukki town, and 15 cm at Mylandumpara in the hill district during the 24 hours ending at 8.30 a.m. on Monday. This is very heavy rainfall, shown in red by the IMD — dangerously heavy.
Sunday too was a wet day, with the district receiving an area-weighted rainfall of over 4 cm. Saturday too was no different, with the rainfall exceeding 10 cm in many places. Three days of consecutive heavy downpour in Idukki district, with the spell likely to continue, will require close watching.
A low pressure weather system had taken shape over the west-central Bay of Bengal on Sunday, and the cyclonic circulation associated with it kept siphoning the southwest monsoon flow across the subcontinent on Monday.
Thiruvananthapuram Meteorological Centre Director K. Santhosh said the influence of this system on the weather in Kerala could last for at least two more days. The cross-equatorial flow of the southwest monsoon currents was quite strong now and a deep offshore trough too was in position at mean sea level all the way from the Gujarat coast to the Kerala coast, causing heavy precipitation.
Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kottayam, Idukki, and Alappuzha districts and further south, the districts of Kollam, Pathanamthitta, and Thiruvananthapuram experienced heavy rainfall on Monday. The belt of the heaviest rainfall is likely to move north over the next two days.
All except five of the hydroelectric reservoirs in the State are overflowing. In the Idukki reservoir, the one that matters most because of its immense capacity, the water level was 83 per cent of the full capacity. This is unprecedented at this time of the year. Since its commissioning in the early 1970s, the reservoir has touched its full level only twice.
The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB), as on Monday, had water storage up to 86 per cent of the cumulative capacity of all the reservoirs put together. This too is unprecedented for this time of the year.
As on July 5, the State had received more rainfall than could be normally expected during the entire monsoon season lasting till the end of September.
As on July 5, the actual rainfall received by the State since June 1 came to more than 207 cm against a long period average of 204 cm for the whole season. All the rainfall being received now is outside expectations.