Death toll rises to 324 as monsoon flooding to worsen in India into Saturday
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
August 17, 2018, 11:35:22 AM EDT
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Major flooding will continue to threaten lives and property along the west coast of India, including hard-hit Kerala, into this weekend before some relief arrives next week.
The death toll from more than a week of downpours triggering flooding, mudslides and transportation chaos in Kerala rose to 324 on Friday, according to the Associated Press.
The state had already suffered a total of 130 flood-related deaths from late May to July.
More than 223,000 people have been displaced by the flooding, seeking shelter in over 1,568 relief camps. Boats and helicopters have been utilized to rescue residents from flooded areas.
More than 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) of roads and hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged across Kerala.
Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh, said the flooding in Kerala is the worst since 1924 as Udukki dam is nearing max capacity.
Flood waters have inundated the Kochi International Airport forcing closure of the largest airport in the state through Aug. 26.
Authorities opened the gates of 34 reservoirs on Wednesday, the most ever at the same time, as water reached dangerous levels and downpours are expected to continue the next several days.
Additional total rainfall of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) will be common across Kerala from Thursday afternoon to Saturday with an AccuWeather Local StormMax of 300 mm (12 inches).
Kozhikode has already been inundated with 417 mm (16.43 inches) from Monday into Thursday morning.
"There are finally signs that Kerala will catch a little break in the weather next week," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski said. "While the state may not entirely dry out, downpours can become fewer and less intense on most days."
Another area of concern into Saturday will be from northern Maharashtra, western Madhya Pradesh and eastern Gujarat.
A slow-moving monsoon low tracking across these areas will bring daily downpours and a heightened risk for flooding, mudslides and travel disruptions.
While the entire region will not receive heavy rainfall each day, the hardest-hit areas can expect rainfall in excess of 150 mm (6 inches) on any given day.
Conditions will improve across the region by this weekend; however, as a new monsoon low threatens to bring flooding downpours as it tracks from Bangladesh to northeastern and central India Sunday into next week.
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