Heavy rain lashes Kerala, dam levels rising; State braces up in wake of red alert

Heavy rain lashes Kerala, dam levels rising; State braces up in wake of red alert


Heavy rain continued to lash Kerala, especially Munnar and Palakkad, on Thursday, creating a fear similar to the one in mid-August flood from which people have just begun to recover slowly.

A low-pressure area was likely to form over South-East Arabian Sea around October 6, according to the Met department. This was expected to intensify into a depression and move north-westward towards Oman coast in the subsequent 48 hours.

It was a depression in the Bay of Bengal in August that saw incessant rain leading to flood in several parts of the State. With Idukki, Thrissur and Palakkad put on red alert and catchment areas receiving heavy rain over the last two days, there has been a surge in water levels in dams. The State Government has asked the Central Water Commission to direct Tamil Nadu to open the shutters of its dams.

Heavy rain since Wednesday night in Palakkad saw Malampuzha dam level rise beyond 114 metres, forcing authorities to open its shutters. Warning has been issued to people living along the banks of the Bharathapuzha and the Kalpathipuzha.

A meeting of the Disaster Management Authority was held today under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Tom Jose. Opening of shutters would be after consultation with District Collectors. The electricity and irrigation departments have been asked to regularly monitor the dams and report to District Collectors.

Five battalions of the NDRF are expected to reach late today and already two battalions are in the State. Since water levels in Poringalkuthu, Cheemeni, Sholayar and Peechi dams in Thrissur district were rising, there was alert to people living in the vicinity in the likelihood of mudslides. Chalakudy, which saw heavy flooding in August, had a rare squall on Wednesday and heavy showers were there on Thursday too.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan yesterday said district authorities had been asked to set up relief camps by Friday. Tourists have been advised not to visit Munnar, Athirappilly waterfalls and Nelliyampathy.

According to the Indian Meterological Department, heavy rainfall (7-11 cm) to very heavy rainfall (12-20 cm) is most likely to occur at one or two places in Kerala up to October 6 and extremely heavy rainfall (21- above 24cm) in one or two places the next day.