Bengaluru early on Tuesday witnessed a record 180mm rainfall in barely three hours, the heaviest downpour in August since 1890, an official said.
The heavy rain wreaked havoc across the city, crippling normal life, flooding roads and houses in many localities and dampened the 71st Independence Day celebrations in the state capital.
“The downpour in just three hours (3 a.m. to 6 a.m.) was so heavy that storm-water drains could not take the load, resulting in water overflowing on to several roads and inundating low-lying areas,” Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika (BBMP) Commissioner Manjunatha Prasad told reporters here.
City Mayor G. Padmavathi said: “BBMP officials have been ordered to clean the drains and respond to public issues immediately.”
Along with Deputy Mayor M. Anand, Padmavathi visited affected areas during the day.
The torrential rain uprooted trees, twisted electric poles and snapped cable lines in upscale residential areas, disrupting power supply.
Civic officials used makeshift boats to rescue the stranded residents in some areas while power outages led to blackouts for hours since early morning in many areas.
“We received distress calls and complaints from hundreds of affected regarding overflowing of drains, and rainwater entering basements, and ground floor houses and apartments,” an official at the BBMP control room told IANS.
The Bellandur Lake, the largest of the 262 lakes and tanks in the city, was seen covered in toxic foam after the downpour.
Police faced a tough time as several arterial roads, subways, and underbridges were waterlogged, slowing vehicular movement and causing traffic snarls. The flights at the Kempegowda International Airport, however, remained unaffected.
According to the Meteorological Department, the city had not witnessed such heavy rainfall in August since 1890, when 166 mm rain was recorded on a single day.
Scientist C.N. Prabhu of the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre said the weather monitoring system could not predict the heaviest rainfall in the city in 127 years.
“We had forecast a moderate rainfall but it developed into much heavier than we could predict. It is certainly 3-4 times heavier than the prediction,” Prabhu told IANS.
“There was a thick patch of clouds over the city that caused the downpour. Being the monsoon season, heavy rains are not unusual,” Prabhu added.
According to the Met Department, a few spells of rain are likely to continue over the next few days in the city.