Dystopian Scenes: Mumbai blanketed by Sandstorm as rains pour down

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Mumbai experienced a dramatic shift in weather on Monday afternoon as heavy rains accompanied by an intense sandstorm swept through the city. After enduring scorching heat over the past few days, residents welcomed the change, albeit with some disruptions. The internet is awash with visuals depicting the sandstorm and rain, giving Mumbai, the commercial capital of India, an almost dystopian appearance.

The first rains of the season drenched Mumbai, Thane, and other adjoining areas of Maharashtra, bringing relief from the heatwave. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) also issued warnings of lightning and gusty winds (30-40 km/h) in isolated places. A ‘Yellow’ alert has been issued for regions like Thane, Palghar, Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Sindhudurg districts due to the expected adverse weather conditions.

Additionally, an ‘Orange’ alert has been issued for several other districts of Maharashtra, including Pune, Satara, Sangli, Nashik, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, and Parbhani. The Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) forecasted the possibility of light rain or thundershowers in the evening or night over the next 24 hours, with maximum and minimum temperatures expected to be around 35°C and 28°C, respectively.

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The strong winds accompanying the rain uprooted several trees in Mumbai, leading to traffic snarls in various areas. However, no injuries were reported, and the administration swiftly rerouted traffic from vulnerable zones to prevent any untoward incidents.

The change in weather also affected flight operations at Mumbai International Airport, where takeoff and landing were suspended for 30 minutes. The decision was made in response to forecasts of hail, gusty winds (50-60 kph), and heavy rain in some districts of Maharashtra on Monday. The suspension of flight operations aimed to ensure the safety of passengers and aircraft amidst the adverse weather conditions.

The forecasted rains in several regions of India are expected to provide relief from the intense heatwave experienced in recent weeks. This year, anticyclonic conditions and El Niño effects have contributed to record-high temperatures in several states, making the onset of the monsoon particularly anticipated.

The rains not only bring relief from the scorching heat but also replenish water reservoirs and help in agricultural activities. However, authorities remain vigilant to mitigate any potential risks posed by heavy rains, including flooding and waterlogging in low-lying areas.

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