Mangaluru caught off guard; schools closed on Wednesday
A sudden and heavy downpour that lashed coastal Karnataka on Tuesday claimed three lives in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts, while a schoolgirl was washed away in an overflowing drain near Padubidri. The rain left many parts of Mangaluru city waterlogged.
Mohini, 60, who was buried under the debris of a compound wall next to her residence near KPT in Mangaluru, could not be saved. Fire and Emergency Services personnel retrieved her body from the debris.
Sheela Nalke, a member of Bailur Gram Panchayat in Karkala taluk in Udupi district, died after she was struck by lightning at her home at 3 a.m. Later in the day, nine-year-old Nidhi Acharya, who was returning home from school along with her elder sister, was washed away in a storm-water drain at Padebettu near Padubidri in Udupi district. By nightfall there was one more death reported. Eighty-year-old Muttabai died after she slipped and fell on her way out of her house that was inundated with rain water in Kodialbail Kambla in Mangaluru.
The authorities have declared holiday for schools and PU colleges in both districts on Wednesday. Exams of Mangalore University, slated for the day, have also been postponed.
Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner S. Sasikanth Senthil said the heavy rain — 400 mm in Mangaluru taluk — was triggered by the sudden formation of a low-pressure area off Karnataka-Kerala coast on Tuesday morning. Inability of storm-water drains in Mangaluru to handle excess rainwater, coupled with high tide in the Arabian Sea caused waterlogging in Mangaluru for a few hours.
An official of India Meteorological Department told The Hindu it was difficult to reason out the heavy rains as on the one hand monsoon has set in neighbouring Kerala and on the other, low pressure was formed off the Karnataka-Kerala coast. “Monsoon is likely to touch Karnataka in a couple of days after which IMD will formally announce its onset,” he said.
The IMD on Tuesday announced setting in of monsoon in Kerala three days ahead of its normal date. It said 14 rainfall monitoring stations in Kerala (including one in Mangaluru), have reported more than 60% of rainfall from May 25.
Mangaluru City Corporation however was caught napping with the downpour as it had not undertaken the annual pre-monsoon drain clearance exercise. The National Highways Authority of India, which has been dragging the construction of two flyovers on NH 66 adjoining Mangaluru, contributed to waterlogging along the highway network.