Mumbai wakes up to light rain, condition to stay

Light showers were reported across Mumbai and neighbouring areas late on Thursday night and early Friday morning owing to an unusual weather phenomenon in the state. Cloudy weather and light rainfall are likely to continue through Saturday, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Between 8.30am on Thursday and 8.30am of Friday, both Colaba and Santacruz recorded 0.2mm of rain. This is the first instance of measurable rain in January over the past decade, except in 2014 when on January 31, traces of rain were recorded.

The air quality in the city remained in the ‘very poor’ category due to the uncommon weather phenomenon. An overall air quality index (AQI)—a pollutant measuring indicator— of 317 was measured on Friday, which was higher than Delhi (221) for the second consecutive day, according to System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR).

Isolated winter showers were reported in Kurla, Mahalaxmi, Borivli, Kandivli and Bandra. Neighbouring areas such as Thane, Dombivli and Badlapur also saw isolated spells of rain on Friday night and Saturday morning. IMD attributed the unseasonal rain to a trough along the coast of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

“Mumbai woke up to cloudy skies and rainfall in some parts. Visibility was also poor. This unseasonal rainfall is because of the interaction of western disturbances and easterly winds over Maharashtra, which is not very common,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general of western region, IMD. While western disturbances are common during the winter season, the interaction with easterly winds happens only when the two weather systems are strong and deep, he added.

IMD has said that under the influence of a trough in low-level easterlies from Karnataka coast to Maharashtra coast in lower tropospheric levels, light rain and thundershowers are expected in Mumbai on Saturday. Thane is expected to see thunderstorm with lightning on Saturday. Light rain is expected to continue in both areas on Sunday.

Meanwhile, maximum temperatures saw a sharp decline on Saturday amid cloudy weather. Santacruz recorded a maximum temperature of 28.8 degrees Celsius, which was 2.4 degrees below normal and 1.9 degree lower than Thursday’s temperature. At Colaba, too, maximum temperature dropped from Thursday’s 28 degrees Celsius to 27.5 degrees Celsius, which was 3 degrees below normal.

Minimum temperature at Colaba station was 23 degrees Celsius, which was 3.4 degrees above normal. At Santacruz, minimum temperature was 23.4 degrees Celsius, 5.9 degrees above normal.

“As it is raining in the surrounding areas of Mumbai and yet the city isn’t receiving significant rains, there is a lot of moisture trapped in the air. Temperatures have also dropped because of the rain. Because of these unique conditions, more pollutants are trapped in the air. The absence of winds has further deteriorated air quality,” said a spokesperson from SAFAR.

Of the 10 stations in Mumbai, eight reported AQI in the very poor category. Colaba reported the worst air quality with an AQI of 352, which was closely followed by Bandra-Kurla Complex at 346. Along the western suburbs, Malad reported the worst air with AQI of 338. At Andheri, AQI was at 333.

“Usually the air quality in Mumbai improves within two-three days. However, because of this unique weather condition, the quality of air continues to be very poor category and will remain so for the next couple of days,” added the spokesperson.

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