Heavy rainfall causes floods in Maharashtra; Chiplun in Ratnagiri, Kolhapur worst affected

District-wise rainfall data shows that except for five districts, the remaining 31 districts in Maharashtra received very heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours. Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur, Ratnagiri — all on flood alert — recorded 900%, 841%, 336% and 311% above normal rainfall, respectively. IMD has issued severe weather warning till July 26.

Nidhi Jamwal
Deputy Managing Editor| Updated: Last updated on July 23rd, 2021,

Rivers of muddy waters gushing through the streets of Chiplun, ground and first floors of housing complexes submerged, floating cars, and just the red rooftops of state transport buses peeking out of several feet high floodwater — these visuals coming out of the business and industrial hub of south Konkan region in Maharashtra show the massive floods that have hit Chiplun in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.

Extremely heavy rainfall since yesterday has led to a sudden rise in water levels of rivers across the state, leading to floods. Several districts in coastal Konkan including Mumbai and Thane, Vidarbha, Marathwada and Madhya Maharashtra regions are at present inundated and relief and rescue works are underway. Kolhapur and Raigad districts are badly affected. 

It is believed that hundreds of thousands of people are still trapped in floodwaters and both the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) teams are on rescue missions. Social media sites are inundated with pleas of people requesting their trapped family members be tracked and rescued.

Meanwhile, train services in the flood-hit areas have been suspended as both railway tracks and railway stations are completely under water. 

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray today held an emergency meeting to review the flood situation as the state has received very heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours. 

Also Read: Heavy rainfall causes flash flood in Dharamshala, Himachal. But overall minus 18% monsoon rainfall in the state so far

IMD issues a ‘red alert’, heavy rainfall expected

In its press release issued today, at 11:30 am, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that “isolated extremely heavy falls are also very likely over Konkan & Goa & adjoining Ghat areas of Madhya Maharashtra and Coastal Karnataka today, the 22nd July.”

The Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai, has also issued a red alert for today (July 22) in Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Pune, Kolhapur and Satara districts. 

More heavy rainfall may make the matters worse as Vashishti river in Chiplun, Ratnagiri is already flowing above the danger mark. In Kolhapur, the Panchganga river has also swelled as has the Krishna river in Sangli. 

Past 24 hours heavy rainfall

As per the IMD’s district-wise rainfall data for Maharashtra, except for five districts, all the rest 31 districts in the state received large excess rainfall in the past 24 hours (8:30 am on July 21 to 8:30 am on July 22).

Satara district has recorded a very high rainfall departure after receiving 900 per cent beyond its normal rainfall in the past 24 hours. Adjoining districts of Sangli, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri have received 841 per cent, 336 per cent and 311 per cent above their normal rainfall, respectively.

Also Read: Flash floods in Ganderbal, Samba districts of Jammu & Kashmir; 380% excess rainfall in the union territory in past 24 hours

Marathwada and Vidarbha regions, both infamous for recurring droughts, have also received very heavy rainfall in the past 24 hours — Parbhani (972 per cent above normal), Jalna (668 per cent), Washim (667 per cent), Akola (611 per cent).  

Meanwhile, as per the Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai’s latest rainfall data issued today at 1 pm, between 8:30 am on July 21 and 8:30 am on July 22, Jawhar (Palghar district), Matheran (Raigad), Sangameshwar Devrukh (Ratnagiri) received an extremely heavy rainfall of 430 millimetre (mm), 330 mm and 250 mm, respectively.  

Also Read: Bihar Floods 2021: 90% flood-affected respondents lack access to safe drinking water, half the toilets broken, shortage of food, finds a survey

Ratnagiri district, which is facing massive floods, received very heavy rainfall at its various locations. For instance, Devrukh recorded a rainfall of 252 mm, Lanja (220 mm), and Khed (195 mm) in the past 24 hour.

In Gaganbawda, Kolhapur district, 265 mm rainfall was recorded in the past 24 hours. Murbad and Shahpur in Thane district recorded 226 mm and 205 mm rainfall in 24 hours, respectively.

The IMD has issued a severe weather warning for Maharashtra for July 22 till July 26.

Climate scientists have been warning against the changing rainfall pattern in India with the duration of dry period in the monsoon increasing and short-strong bursts of rainfall increasing leading to flash floods in both rural and urban areas. 

Maharashtra battered

It isn’t just a day’s rainfall that has led to flooding across the state. In the past one week, Maharashtra has been facing heavy rainfall. Between July 15 and July 21, the Kokan and Goa meteorological subdivision has received 158 per cent above normal rainfall. As against its normal rainfall of 244.2 mm, the subdivision received a rainfall of 628.9 mm. 

In the same time period, both the Madhya Maharashtra and Marathwada regions received 37 per cent above their normal rainfall for the week.

Similarly, between July 15 and July 21, Maharashtra has registered a rainfall departure of 56 per cent — against its normal rainfall of 74.3 mm, the state received 115.6 mm rainfall.

Also Read: 35% check dams broken, 32% percolation tanks encroached in drought-prone Yavatmal district of Maharashtra: Study

Several districts of the state have received ‘large excess’ rainfall in this southwest monsoon season from June 1 till July 22. These include Ratnagiri, Suburban Mumbai, Beed, Jalna and Parbhani. Seventeen other districts have received ‘excess’ rainfall. 

Overall, the state has recorded 30 per cent above its normal rainfall in this monsoon season so far, which falls under ‘excess’ rainfall category.