Maharashtra Rains: Mahabaleshwar records 600mm rainfall in 24 hours, breaks all-time record for rainfall

Maharashtra continues to be battered by extremely heavy rainfall leading to floods in its various districts and a major landslide in Raigad. On July 1, the IMD had forecasted ‘below normal’ rainfall for the month of July 2021 in large parts of Maharashtra. However, several stations including Mahabaleshwar, Satara and Kolhapur, have received record-breaking rainfall this month.

Nidhi Jamwal
Deputy Managing Editor| Updated: July 24th, 2021

This extremely heavy rainfall in various districts of Maharashtra has led to massive floods across the state.

As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD) data, between 8:30 am on July 22 and 8:30 am on July 23, Mahabaleshwar, a hill station in Maharashtra, received almost 600 millimetre (594 mm) rainfall in 24 hours thereby breaking all its previous records of rainfall. Its previous record of the highest single day rainfall was 491 mm on August 11, 2008. 

Kolhapur district, where relief and rescue operations are underway right now, has also received extremely heavy rainfall on a single day. Till 8:30 am yesterday, July 23, Ajra, Radhanagari and Gaganbawada areas in Kolhapur district received 400 mm, 400 mm and 360 mm rainfall in 24 hours, respectively.

Also Read: Maharashtra rains: Landslides, floods claim 76 lives, almost 90,000 rescued as ‘unprecedented’ downpour continues

Sindhudurg district in south Konkan has also been receiving incessant rainfall with Sawantwadi, Kankavli, Dodamarg receiving 210 mm, 190 mm and 180 mm rainfall in 24 hours (ending 8:30 am on July 23), as reflected in the rainfall data shared by the IMD’s Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai.

This extremely heavy rainfall in various districts of Maharashtra has led to massive floods across the state. As per news reports, 136 people have died in flood-related incidents in the state and close to 90,000 people have been rescued and brought to safe locations. 

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, along with the chief secretary Sitaram Kunte, is visiting the site in Raigad where in a landslide, triggered by incessant rainfall has killed at least 57 people and several people are still feared trapped in the rubble or are missing. Rescue operations are underway in the area.

IMD had forecasted below normal rainfall in July 2021

Incidentally, in its forecast issued earlier this month on July 1, the IMD had predicted below normal rainfall for Konkan and Goa meteorological subdivision for the month of July 2021 (see map). However, the actual rainfall data of the met department shows that this subdivision has received ‘large excess’ rainfall of 61 per cent between July 1 and July 23, so far. 

SW Monsoon Rainfall Forecast for July 2021. Source: IMD, Press release, July 1, 2021

Marathwada region of Maharashtra, which is infamous for recurring droughts, has also received ‘large excess’ rainfall of 91 per cent in this month. Madhya Maharashtra has had ‘excess’ rainfall of 22 per cent, whereas Vidarbha region has registered normal rainfall in July 2021 so far.

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

Overall, between July 1 and July 23, Maharashtra has reported a rainfall departure of 37 per cent, which comes in the IMD’s category of ‘excess’ rainfall.

Heavy rainfall continues in Maharashtra

Even in the past 24 hours, several districts of Maharashtra have received ‘large excess’ rainfall. In the past 24 hours ending 8:30 am today morning (July 24), Satara received 1,223 per cent above its normal rainfall. 

Sangli, Kolhapur, Pune, Solapur and Raigad have reported 664 per cent, 401 per cent, 460 per cent, 83 per cent and 67 per cent above their normal rainfall, respectively.

Also Read: Floods account for almost half the deaths in India due to extreme weather events in the past 50 years

Hingoli district in Marathwada has also received large excess rainfall of 127 per cent in the past 24 hours, whereas Akola in Vidarbha has reported a rainfall departure of 252 per cent in the same period.

Telangana, Andhra, Tamil Nadu battered too

In the month of July so far, Telangana has reported a rainfall departure of 115 per cent – against its normal rainfall of 161.9 mm, the state has received 347.5 mm rainfall. Its adjoining state Andhra Pradesh has received 103 per cent above its normal rainfall this month. 

Tamil Nadu too has received 115 per cent beyond its normal rainfall in July 2021 with one week of the month still left.

Cumulatively speaking, in the southwest monsoon season so far, of the total 694 districts in India, only 37 per cent have received a normal rainfall. Thirty two per cent have had deficient rainfall and 31 per cent districts have reported excess/large excess rainfall, shows the IMD data.

Meanwhile, as per the IMD’s press release issued today (July 24), “Further reduction in rainfall intensity is very likely along the west coast including Konkan & Goa & adjoining interior Maharashtra during next 24 hours. Fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy falls very likely to continue over west coast including Maharashtra on 24th July and isolated heavy falls thereafter.”