Intense monsoon season brings heavy downpour
The Indian state of Kerala was drenched in floodwater throughout much of July and August amid an unusually intense monsoon season. Although flooding has always been anticipated, the intensity this time around was so high that the state recorded more than 37% of excess rainfall in just two-and-a-half months, instead of the usual four. The disaster was the worst to hit the state in decades. A major relief operation was initiated in light of the flooding in which local authorities eventually declared it a “calamity of severe nature”. Travel disruptions were also widespread with the main airport in Kochi (Cochin) being closed for at least a week, affecting thousands of people.
Following is a timeline of the flood in Kerala as reported by GWS:
- Thursday, 9 August– Casualties reported following landslide and heavy rain incidents in Kerala
- The state of Kerala experienced intense rainfall for almost 24 hours on this day. The most affected area was Idukki in which 16 people were killed due to landslides. Evacuation efforts were launched while travel disruptions were also being reported.
- Friday, 10 August– Death toll rises as rainfall batters more areas
- The rainfall in the state expanded to Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts on the day. At least 24 people were killed by landslides as well as floodwater.
- Saturday, 11 August– Red alert for flooding issued for a number of districts
- Local authorities issued a red alert for flooding in a number of districts including Wayanad, Idukki, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode.
- Between 13-15 August– Flooding continues to affect many districts in the state
- A number of districts continued to be affected by the floods as death toll rose to 45. GWS sent out two alerts during this period.
- Thursday, 16 August– Red alert continues in Kerala
- Red alert remained in effect for least 11 out of 14 districts including Idukki, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Malappuram, Pathanamthitta, Kannur and Ernakulam.
- The metro services in Kochi were halted due to the flooding.
- Flights were also suspended at Kochi airport due to bad weather. Closure is expected to last till 18 August.
- Between 19-20 August– Situation slightly improves in Kerala, but Kochi airport remains closed
- The flood situation showed signs of improvement and alert level was lowered from red to orange. The airport in Kochi however remained closed.
- The death toll from the flooding also reached 194 people while 36 others remained missing.
- Wednesday, 22 August– Authorities announce that Kochi airport will be closed till 29 August
- Authorities announced that the airport in Kochi will be closed till 29 August instead of 26 due to extensive damage caused by floodwater.
GWS will continue to monitor the flooding in Kerala as the situation develops.
Travel advice for floods provided by GWS:
- Check the state of the roads and airport access before you travel and allow extra time for journeys.
- Follow the advice and orders of local authorities. If told to evacuate; do so.
- Monitor local weather news and security information services.
- If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of stream, drainage channels, canyons and other areas prone to flash flooding, which can with or without typical warnings such as rain clouds or heavy rain.
- Do not walk through moving water. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded area