Flooding death toll rises as monsoon downpours target central, western India this week

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 18, 2018, 7:38:07 AM EDT

Heavy rain is being blamed for more than three dozen deaths in the past week across India. More lives will be threatened as the heaviest monsoon rain focuses on western and central parts of the nation in the coming days.

A recent study by the claims that one-fifth of all global flood-related deaths each year occur in India.

Daily downpours have caused widespread flooding across Gujarat, with southern areas being hit the hardest. In total, 30 people have been killed in the recent flooding, according to the Hindu Business Line.

Around 3,500 others were forced from their homes, while flooding also killed dozens of cattle.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi canceled his visit to flood-stricken parts of the state as conditions were deemed unsafe.

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Hardest-hit parts of southern Gujarat have reported more than 700 mm (27.50 inches) in past the week.

Downpours are expected to diminish across Gujarat by Thursday; however ongoing flooding problems will continue.

Tragedy struck again as a boulder killed eight people at a popular waterfall in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday. At least 32 other people were injured by falling rocks and debris near the waterfall, according to First Post.

The region reported heavy rainfall in the days leading up the deadly event.

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No break in the frequent monsoon downpours will come to India’s western coast from Mumbai to Mangaluru into this weekend.

Another zone of heavy rain is expected to focus on the corridor from Odisha to Madhya Pradesh and southeastern Rajasthan this week as a monsoon low tracks over central India.

Both of the above regions will face the highest risk of flash flooding across India.

Widespread rainfall of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) is expected with local amounts over 300 mm (12 inches) through Friday.

The most intense downpours can quickly trigger new flooding or worsen ongoing problems. Residents should prepare for more evacuations and a risk of localized landslides in the higher terrain.

Travel can be brought to a halt for a time where floodwaters inundate roads, runways or railroads.

While the monsoon low tracks farther to the south, downpours can still bring localized flooding and travel disruptions to the National Capital Region (NCR). Scattered showers and thunderstorms are possible each day into this weekend.

Even in the absence of flooding, downpours can dramatically reduce visibility and heighten the risk of vehicles hydroplaning when traveling at highway speeds.

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People make their way through a waterlogged street following heavy rain in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Heavy monsoon rains hit Mumbai flooding several areas and disrupting normal life. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Not all of India will face disruptions to outdoor plans and travel.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk expects eastern Tamil Nadu, as well as Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh to be largely dry through at least Thursday.

"It may take until another monsoon low forms over the northern Bay of Bengal for rainfall to increase across northeastern India and northern Bangladesh late week into the weekend," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

A break in the monsoon may then come to northwestern and central India, including New Delhi, in early August, Nicholls added.

"Overall, August is not looking promising for making up any rain deficits in these areas," he said.

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