Pre-monsoon rains claim 16 lives in Maharashtra



Torrential rains lashed large parts of Maharashtra and Mumbai on Saturday claiming at least 16 lives, even as the monsoon progressed normally over the state and the weather department forecast heavy rain over the next 48 hours.

Providing succour from the blistering heat, many areas of the state, including coastal Konkan, Mumbai, northern, western and eastern Maharashtra, were lashed by a downpour accompanied with thunder and lightning till almost daybreak since 1 a.m.

Low-lying areas in some cities experienced water-logging as gutters and storm water drains were flooded in a short time and water gushed out onto the streets.

At least 16 persons have lost their lives in rain-related incidents in different parts of the state since midnight in what is described as pre-monsoon rain.

Four people were killed and eight others injured in Gadchiroli, three died in Nanded, two in Latur and one in Nashik when they were struck by lightning in the early hours on Saturday.

A 10-year-old boy was washed away when he was on his way to school and was trying to cross a small bridge over a heavily flooded drain in Nevasa, Ahmednagar.

Yogesh Kurle, an IT engineer, was electrocuted when he accidentally touched a live wire near Murbad in Thane district, while another person was seriously injured.

Early on Saturday, four children aged between four and seven were washed away in Chandrabhaga river near Pandharpur in Solapur district when they had gone for a swim.

Their family members and local activists said the children failed to judge the water level on account of illegal sand dredging activities that are carried out in the river.

The downpour resulted in a technical glitch in an electric transformer in Palghar district with many areas experiencing power breakdown since morning. 

The concerned officials were making attempts to rectify the problem on a war-footing as the skies cleared by afternoon.

The IMD in Mumbai has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall over the Konkan belt, north and south central Maharashtra, with heavy rain in Marathwada and central Maharashtra.

Since Thursday night, the highest rainfall of nine cm was recorded in Palghar in north Konkan followed by eight cm in Sindhudurg's Malvan, with Mumbai recording an average of 3.59 cm rain in the past 24 hours.

Temperatures fell appreciably from average highs of 32-36 degrees Celsius to 24-22 degrees Celsius in different parts of the state following the downpour. - IANS