Kerala

Heavy rains lash North and Central Kerala, IMD issues orange alert in 12 districts

Many parts of Kochi are inundated following heavy rains. A scene from Thoppumpady on Thursday.

Many parts of Kochi are inundated following heavy rains. A scene from Thoppumpady on Thursday. | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

The heavy rains that lashed Kerala for the fifth straight day on May 19 brought stormwater surging into hundreds of homes, bus stations, shops, markets, and offices in low-lying areas.

The situation was particularly fraught in localities abutting canals in Ernakulam and Kozhikode. Rushing water sluiced through ground floors, swamped roads, and entire neighbourhoods.

Flood-hit residents had a tough time carrying their belongings to the upper floors of their homes or nearby higher ground. The spectre of water-borne diseases loomed. The authorities are evacuating people in some flood-prone localities to relief camps.

Inundated roads

Cars, two-wheelers, and public transport buses appeared to transform into amphibious vehicles as they punishingly ploughed their way through inundated urban main thoroughfares. The rain upended the rhythms of daily life and caused chaos across the State. Commerce also took a hit.

Heavy rains in the State have waterlogged roads and inundated low-lying areas.

Heavy rains in the State have waterlogged roads and inundated low-lying areas. | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Orange alert for 12 districts

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that rains could intensify in 12 districts. It has issued an orange alert for all districts except Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam (Yellow alert).

Water level in dams rising

Several dams are filling up due to intense rainfall across Kerala. The Peringakuthu and Bhoothanthankettu dams opened their shutters minimally to keep the storage limit within the safety threshold.

Other barriers are likely to lift their shutters incrementally to let water out. The government is closely monitoring water levels downstream as reservoirs shed excess storage. A control room at the government secretariat is taking stock of the situation hourly.

Rain-related accidents

Reports of rain-related accidents are also trickling in from across Kerala.

At least two persons, including an infant, were killed when their car plummetted into a steep gully en route to Munnar. The police said the victims were natives of Andhra Pradesh and could be leisure travellers. They suspect the inclement weather caused the mishap.

The government has declared hill resorts, beaches, waterfalls, and forested tourist spots off-limits to holidayers and tourists.

Tourists hold umbrellas as they watch the rough sea during heavy rains in Fort Kochi on Thursday.

Tourists hold umbrellas as they watch the rough sea during heavy rains in Fort Kochi on Thursday. | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Uprooted trees, severed powerlines

Uprooted trees caused traffic pile-ups and severed power lines engendered power outages. Coastal localities reported rough seas and tidal surges. The government has warned fishers from putting their boats out to sea.

Cyclonic circulation

A cyclonic circulation over the State exacerbated by an atmospheric low-pressure trough extending from Kerala to West Vidharbha in Maharashtra caused the current spell. Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has raised the possibility that the recent bout of heavy rain could splice into the onset of the Southwest monsoon in early June.

CM’s review

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will review the rain situation later in the day. Mr. Vijayan had on May 18 met Coast Guard, Army, Navy and Air Force officials to streamline rescue and relief efforts, if required.

The government has opened taluk level control rooms to coordinate relief and rescue operations. It has positioned disaster response teams across the State for rapid deployment.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 2:57:14 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/heavy-rains-lash-north-and-central-kerala-imd-warns/article65429225.ece