Nearly 20 killed in India flooding in past week as monsoon downpours threaten more lives

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Adam Douty, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
July 15, 2018, 5:55:04 PM EDT

Flooding is being blamed for more than a dozen deaths last week in India. More lives may be threatened as the heaviest monsoon rain focuses on western and central parts of the nation during the coming week.

"Heavy rains have caused a total of 19 deaths in [Gujarat] since last week," India TV quoted Manoj Kothari, Relief Commissioner, Gujarat, on Thursday.

Nearly 1,000 others have been forced from their homes, while flooding killed dozens of cattle.

Navsari has been the hardest-hit district across Gujarat. After being pounded earlier in the week, Mumbai escaped the worst of the recent flooding.

India monsoon July 13

A young boy is carried to safety in a box over flood waters 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)

North of Navsari, 365 mm (14.38 inches) of rain inundated Surat from Wednesday to Sunday afternoon, local time. Rain totaled 244 mm (9.6 inches) at a weather observation site outside of Vadodara during the same time period.

Frequent monsoon downpours are also being attributed to a death in Kalyan City, near Mumbai, early on Friday morning.

The rain reportedly caused potholes to form on several roads in the area, according to the Times of India. A man died after hitting the pothole, losing control of his scooter and being hit by another vehicle. This is the fifth death related to potholes in Kalyan City over the past month.

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No break in the frequent monsoon downpours will come to India’s western coast from Surat to Kalyan City, Mumbai and Kochi through the coming week.

Another zone of heavy rain is expected to focus on the corridor from Odisha to Madhya Pradesh and southeastern Rajasthan into the middle of the week as a monsoon low tracks westward.

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

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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 over areas to the south, downpours can still bring localized flooding and travel disruptions to the National Capital Region (NCR) into at least midweek.

One downpour dropped 53 mm (2.09 inches) of rain in just six hours at New Delhi’s Safdarjung Airport on Friday. NDTV reports that travel slowed to a crawl.

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

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 middle of the week.

"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," 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.

Despite Friday's downpour, the monthly rainfall total at New Delhi's Safdarjung Airport is still running less than 50 percent of normal for July. Showers and thunderstorms into next week can further increase that total before the turn to drier weather in August.

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