India: New week to bring reduction in flooding rain in hard-hit Kerala

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
August 20, 2018, 4:37:16 AM EDT

Some relief will come to the hard-hit Indian state of Kerala, where thousands have been rescued from the deadly flooding.

More than a week of downpours triggering flooding, mudslides and transportation chaos in Kerala have killed roughly 350 people as of Sunday, according to the Associated Press.

That brings the death toll since the monsoon started in late May to more than 350.

An estimated 800,000 people have been displaced by the flooding, seeking shelter in over 4,000 relief camps.

Boats and helicopters have been utilized to rescue residents from flooded areas. Nearly 10,000 people are reportedly still stranded by the flood waters.

"Kerala is facing its worst flood in 100 years," Kerala’s Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan stated. "This flood is also one of the worst floods in our country's history."

India flooding 2 Aug 17

People move past a flooded area in Thrissur, in the southern Indian state of Kerala, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (AP Photo)

Some relief will come to Kerala as the surge of moisture shifts northward and allows downpours to become fewer and less intense for most of this week.

"There can still be showers that occasionally dampen the state, but rainfall will be significantly less than the past two weeks," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Thompson said.

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While residents should still be mindful of downpours capable of worsening the flooding situation, such incidents may occur on a much more localized level.

The heavy rain easing will give floodwaters in most areas an opportunity to recede and allow residents and crews to start the painstaking task of cleaning up from the devastation.

Residents should continue to follow the advice of local officials to protect themselves against the hazards that remain in the wake of flood disasters, such as boiling water, watching for wildlife in the mud and protecting oneself against mold.

Even if stream levels recede, larger rivers may remain out of their banks as runoff from the extreme rain or water being released from the dozens of opened dams flows downstream.

Inundating floodwaters have forced officials to close the Kochi International Airport, the largest airport in the state, through Aug. 26.

India floods 1 Aug 17

In this Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 photo, an elderly woman is evacuated towards safer area in Thrissur, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. (AP Photo)

Twelve of Kerala’s 14 districts have been hit hard by monsoon flooding downpours since June, according to the Associated Press.

Thousands of homes and 32,500 hectares (80,300 acres) of crops have been destroyed. Officials estimate that more than 10,000 km (6,200 miles) of roads have been damaged. Initial projections put the total losses from the flooding as high as Rs 20,000 crore (nearly $3 billion).

Flooding downpours will not ease across all of India this week.

Frequent downpours may continue to threaten areas farther up the western coast of India, including Mumbai, with flooding.

India Aug 18

Meanwhile, a monsoon low may unload more heavy rain and heighten the risk for flooding as it tracks from Bangladesh to eastern and central India.

The heaviest rain is expected to remain south of the National Capital Region through the new week, but showers and thunderstorms can lead to occasional travel delays on a nearly daily basis.

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay aware of flooding dangers.

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