Updated: July 23, 2021 12:00:36 pm
Earlier this week, Zhengzhou in central China received 617.1 mm of rain in a span of three days. If there was a near equivalent case, or even an instance when more rain was recorded anywhere in recent days, it has to be at Mahabaleshwar, the popular hill station in Satara district of Maharashtra.
Mahabaleshwar recorded 802 mm within 33 hours, by 5.30 pm on Thursday. Of this, 480 mm rain was recorded during the 24-hour period between Wednesday and Thursday, making it the wettest ever July day and second ever wettest day since 1970.
It was an especially rainy day even for a hill station which, every year, receives extremely heavy rain. The average July rainfall here is 3,182 mm. July and August are the wettest months during the monsoon season with a total average of 5,530 mm. Annually, the hill station records an average of 5,710 mm of rain.
As rainfall continued on Thursday, the nine-hour rainfall recorded between 8.30 am to 5.30 pm was 322 mm.
In a growing global trend of extremely heavy rain over a short time span, Mahabaleshwar received about a quarter of its July rainfall quota in just 33 hours.
Due to its orography, and being nestled at 1,439 m above mean sea level in the Western Ghat, its setting is perfect for high-intensity rainfall.
“The strong westerly winds and the shear zone running through Maharashtra make it most favourable for very heavy spells along these hilly terrain,” said an official of the India Meteorological Department.
Mahabaleshwar’s 24-hour rain has breached the 400 mm mark on seven occasions in the last 52 years (See box), according to IMD’s rainfall data. Significantly, all these instances took place after 2000.
Other parts of Maharashtra where such intense spells were recorded include Chiplun in Ratnagiri district. The 24-hour rain here was over 200 mm as on Thursday, leaving many areas in the town submerged under three feet of water.
Between July 13 and 22, Ratnagiri district recorded 1241 mm of rain, which was nearly 40 per cent of the seasonal rainfall of the district, taking it to 70 per cent surplus for the season.
As the monsoon remains active over western Maharashtra, the IMD has put Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Mumbai, Palghar, Thane, Pune, Kolhapur, Satara and Amravati districts on ‘orange’ alert (alert, be prepared) for Friday.
All districts in Konkan will also remain under this alert with chances of heavy to very heavy rain till Sunday.
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