Till July 20 Very heavy rainfall predicted in Kerala

Heavy rains and the havoc it wreaked claimed six lives, including that of two children, in the state.

The Meteorological Department has warned that all districts in the state, except Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta, will witness heavy to very heavy rainfall till July 20. Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki districts, which had extremely heavy rainfall on July 16, will witness a slight fall in rainfall intensity. Still, heavy rainfall has been predicted for these three districts. Maximum temperatures have fallen to below 26 degrees Celsius, and the minimum has dropped to 22 degrees Celsius.

The highest rainfall of the day was recorded in Kochi and Kozha in Kottayam, 23 cms. Piravom in Ernakulam district recorded 22 cms. Munnar and Peerumedu, in Idukki, too experienced heavy rainfall.

Lives were lost mainly to accidents common during a period of incessant rainfall. A 43-year-old man, Manoj Kumar, fell into a water-filled ditch in Pathanamthitta; a 12-year-old boy was electrocuted in Kollam by an electric line that lay submerged in the flood near his home; seven-year-old Adnan drowned in the river he had gone to bathe with his friends Malappuram (in Malappuram alone nine school kids had drowned since the start of monsoon on May 29); a 60-year-old woman Nani was swept away by the rushing waters when she went near a pond to wash her hands in Kannur; 50-year-old Sivankutty was taken away by a Manimala river in spate. A senior civil police officer Benedict, 40, was killed in Kollam when he went up the terrace of his house to remove a fallen branch but was fatally struck by another branch severed by the winds. The bodies of those who went missing on July 15, including that of a six-year-old, were recovered from nearby streams and ponds.

Fallen trees and electric posts, and inundated roads virtually brought the state to a halt. Most areas in Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam and Kottayam were flooded. Landslide was reported from Poomala near Thodupuzha. There were no casualties.

The Aluva-Manappuram area are was fully submerged. The stretch between Pala and Arunapuram, too, was under water. Since busy roads in the Muvattupuzha-Idukki-Ernakulam triangle were flooded, and since it was impossible to know where the road ended, most public bus operators took the cautious route of suspending operations. People who set out in their cars to offices were stranded midway. Trains too ran late with heavy winds uprooting the trees along the railway lines.

A large part of Pathanamthitta district was flooded, at least 54 houses were fully or partially damaged. As many as 10 relief camps were opened in the district. In Pathanamthitta Aranmula, a flooded Pamba river submerged the houses along its banks.

The southwest monsoon had demonstrated a massive surge above normal right from the start. Barring a few days between July 2 and 7, it had sustained an abnormal intensity. All districts in the state, except Thrissur, experienced normal or excess rainfall till July 11. A surge in monsoon was witnessed post July 11. Now, Met officials, said even Thrissur would have witnessed excess rainfall.

Three shutters of the Banasura Sagar reservoir in the district were opened to release excess water, the disaster management cell said. The rate of flow is maintained at 76.5 Cumecs (ie, 76,500 litred per second). Water is discharged to the Panamaram river through Karamantodu, they announced. People living along the banks had been asked to be on alert. The cell said the inflow to the reservoir was getting high and the opening height of the spillway had been raised from 110 to 130 cm. So, the water discharge will be increased to 110 cumecs from 94 cumecs. The district recorded 73.07 mm of rain in he past 24 hours. As many as 1,657 people were put up in 22 relief camps.

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