Landslides, waterlogging in Kerala as Southwest monsoon intensifies; IMD sounds red alert

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) updated its weather warning, placing the central district of Thrissur and northern districts of Malappuram and Kozhikode under red alert on Saturday.
Southwest Monsoon in Kerala
Southwest Monsoon in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram | With Southwest monsoon intensifying in Kerala two days after its onset, heavy downpours lashed several parts of the state, especially in south and central districts triggering landslides, uprooting trees and waterlogging.

Continuous rains for hours caused widespread destruction in the high-range areas of Kottayam and Idukki districts, while intense rains caused severe waterlogging and traffic snarls in the low-lying areas of Thrissur district.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) updated its weather warning, placing the central district of Thrissur and northern districts of Malappuram and Kozhikode under red alert on Saturday.

An orange alert was sounded in Idukki, Palakkad and Wayanad and a yellow alert was issued in six districts.

A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rain of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while an orange alert means very heavy rain of 11 cm to 20 cm, and a yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 cm and 11 cm.

Landslides and trees getting uprooted were reported at Poochapra and Kolappra areas, located in the interior of the hill district Idukki on Friday night.

Some houses and vehicles were damaged in the landslip, but no casualties were reported, locals said.

Crops were destroyed and interior roads, used by local families, were damaged as huge granite boulders fell down from the hill and blocked the pathways.

"We faced such a horror... Following the continuous heavy rains, a landslide happened. Granite boulders, huge stones and sand gushed down...We felt as if the trees were coming down by flying," a villager recalled his horrendous experience.

A family, who had been living in the hilly area, had a narrow escape as rocks fell upon their house. They were later shifted to a safer place, local people added.

Traffic restrictions were put in place along Thodupuzha-Puliyanmala state highway due to the possible threat of mudslides.

As five shutters of the Malankara Dam in Idukki were raised, district authorities advised those living on the banks of Thodupuzha and Muvattupuzha rivers to exercise caution.

With various parts of the neighbouring Kottayam district receiving downpour, people living close to Meenachal and Manimala rivers were also urged to remain vigilant.

Incessant rains that battered several parts of Kottayam for hours since Friday evening caused waterlogging and traffic snarls. While Vadavathoor region received 100 mm rainfall on Friday night, the urban areas of Kottayam got 99 mm, authorities said.Though the port city of Kochi received moderate rains, Aluva region of Ernakulam experienced intense rains since May 31 night.

The central district of Thrissur has been experiencing intense downpours since this morning, leaving people stranded at bus stops and railway stations in large numbers. Waterlogging and traffic snarls were also reported in various parts of the city.

As per the latest radar imagery, a thunderstorm accompanied by moderate to intense spell of rainfall with winds gusting upto 40 kmph is expected in Thrissur, the met department said.

Authorities have urged people to be alert as inundation on major roads and poor visibility of vehicles may lead to traffic congestion. They also warned about flooding in many parts of low-lying areas and river banks. Non-essential movements may be restricted and people should remain at safe places, they added.

Southwest monsoon made an early onset over Kerala and northeastern region on May 30, setting the stage for the four-month rainy season crucial for India's agriculture-based economy.

According to weather scientists, cyclone Remal, which ripped through West Bengal and Bangladesh on Sunday, had pulled the monsoonal flow to the Bay of Bengal, which could be one of the reasons for the early onset over the northeast and Kerala.

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