Water from overflowing Pampa river enters nearby houses following heavy rainfall in the area in Pathanamthitta, Kerala. (Image: ANI)
At least eight people have been killed as heavy rains and catastrophic landslide hit Kerala since October 16. Rescue operations have begun by the teams of Army, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), police and the Fire Force along with the locals in the hard-hit areas of Koottickal and Kokkayar panchayats where over a dozen people are listed to be missing due to numerous landslides accompanied by the heavy downpour.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured that the Centre will provide all possible assistance to the people of Kerala who have been affected by heavy rains and resulting floods.
It is Kerala from where southwest monsoon clouds commence their journey across India every year. As the withdrawal of monsoon is delayed this year, the state is witnessing a heavy downpour.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a forecast on October 10 in which it said that a cyclonic circulation over the east-central Arabian Sea had made “isolated very heavy rainfall very likely over Kerala and Mahe during 12th-14th October”, reported CNN-News18. It had then issued an alert for six districts in the state — Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Palakkad and Thrissur, the report said.
According to the report, on October 17, the weather forecast agency said that the low-pressure area over Southeast Arabian Sea and Kerala had become “less marked”, although a trough of low pressure lies over the east-central Arabian Sea off north Kerala-Karnataka coasts. Due to this, there is a possibility of light to moderate rainfall at many places “with only isolated heavy rainfall over Kerala during next 24 hours and further decrease thereafter”, said the report citing IMD’s prediction.
The latest update of the IMD issues the ‘Red Alert’ for Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, and Thrissur districts. An orange alert, warning of very heavy rainfall was issued for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad districts.
Also read | Incessant rains lash Kerala; ‘Red Alert’ in 5 districts
Is Kerala rain fury related to withdrawal of southwest monsoon clouds?
As per the IMD, the southwest monsoon saw a delayed retreat this year as its withdrawal from the Indian landmass began on October 6, against the expected date of September 17. This means that monsoon clouds would remain active a little more than their usual recession date of October 15, it had said.
Talking about the reason behind this delay in the process, IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mahapatra told news agency IANS that “low-pressure systems bringing in rains over Kerala, Tamil Nadu and another over Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coast. This had delayed this process.”
After the withdrawal of the southwest monsoon, the stage is set for the commencement of the northeast monsoon, which brings in rains mainly to Tamil Nadu, parts of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala.Internet Explorer Channel Network