Monsoon rains in the country stood at 10 percent above average this year and recorded the highest numbers in 25 years, the weather department said on Monday, adding that as seasonal rainfall went on longer than it was expected.
In a country where the monsoon brings nearly 70 per cent of annual rainfall, the longer monsoon has wreaked havoc in several states killing hundreds of people due to flood.
India witnessed heavy and recurrent flooding in Bihar, Assam, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Last week, the weather office said that the rains are unlikely to start receding before early October, which is more than a month later than what is usual in the country.
The rainfall season has been unpredictable this year. Skymet, a private forecaster, had earlier predicted that this season will have lower than normal rainfall as the 2019 monsoon season started with the driest June in five years and below-average precipitation in July.
However, as soon as the month of August came knocking, the country saw heavy rains and flooding in many states as the monsoon stretched into September as well. Even Haryana and Delhi had the threat of floods looming for a few days.
The floods in Bihar were attributed to heavy rainfall in Nepal’s Terai. The first tragedy came when it caused flash floods in the state in the first spell of monsoons killing 127 people with 85 lakh people were affected.
In September, 29 people were killed who lost their lives in rain-related incidents as late monsoons lashed Patna along with other districts including Vaishali, Muzaffarpur and Sitamarhi.
In the northeastern state, 91 people were killed as the Brahmaputra river flowed above the danger level in Golaghat, Jorhat and other districts in July. Assams’s 33 districts were battered by the floods, with Morigaon the worst affected. The floods displaced 96,890 persons who had to take shelter in 757 relief camps and relief distribution centres set up by district administrations. This also killed 187 animals, including 16 rhinos in the famed Kaziranga National Park.
A year after the devastating floods, half of Kerala was again battered by the floods in August. The floods affected more than 2.5 lakh people across 14 districts. In Kerala, about 116 persons were killed in the state with over 83,000 displayed as incessant rains caused floods, overflowed dams and triggered about 80 landslides in the same month with about 40 rivers in spate.
Karnataka too was affected with 17 districts in Karnataka witnessing heavy rains and battering 22 districts of the state in August. The state lost 62 people with over five lakh displaced. The Belagavi district was the worst affected, where 19 people lost their lives. All 33 gates of the Tungabhadra Dam were also opened.
Both Godavari and Krishna rivers swelled twice during monsoon. Many villages in West Godavari, East Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts too saw floods in August.
In August, over 6,000 people were displaced by landslides and floods in Nilgiris district. The adjacent regions in Coimbatore district too bore the brunt of heavy rains and floods and landslides with several areas in Chennai seeing heavy rains.
There were flooding in Banaskantha district, Rajkot and in Vadodara in in August. Four people lost their lives with more than 5,000 displaced. Notably, in Vadodara, even crocodiles were sen in the flood waters.
In August, 43 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents in five districts of western Maharashtra and left more than 4 lakh people displaced. Sangli and Kolhapur districts too bore the brunt with Pune district cut off.
In September, Pune city witnessed more than 100 millimeters of rainfall in a single day, claiming 17 lives. The Mumbai rains too grabbed headlines as the city came to a standstill on twice during the season.
Heavy rainfall battered 32 districts of the state, killing at least 255 people and a financial loss to pegged around Rs 12,000 crore. The Narmada river at Barmanghat in Hosahangabad district and Wainganga river in Balaghat district swelled as well. Neemuch and Mandsaur districts saw heavy downpour late into September, displacing over 13,000 people.
The water released from the Gandhi Sagar dam entered several parts of the state which had already seen the brunt heavy rains throughout the season. There was a flood-like situation in Kota, Chittorgarh and Pratapgarh. At least 59 people lost their lives in rain-related incidents in the state.
Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab
Eight people were killed as floods and landslides caused havoc in several places across Himachal Pradesh in August. Both national highways and local roads were cut off due to landslides. At least 12 people lost their lives the Ganga was in spate. Cloudbursts battered a dozen villages of Uttarkashi while the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra was marred by landslides through traditional Lipulekh route.