Should you trust email warnings about the monsoon?
Dolly Mirchandani  and  Upasana Doshi 11 June 2010

The spate of emails warning you about high tides and dangerous monsoon days has begun. Instead of wondering if the warnings are genuine or staying at home in a panic, you can verify whether the information is true by conducting some checks on your own

The monsoon is all set to hit Mumbai in the next 18 hours and the spate of emails warning of bad rain days has already begun. Ever since the killer deluge of 26 July 2005, emails warning of high-tide days or heavy rain days have become an annual feature. Non governmental organisations (NGOs), concerned citizens and disaster management services send out emails that are occasionally accurate, but more often than not, create needless panic. 

How do you decide whether to heed these warnings and stay home or ignore them and risk trouble? Moneylife decided to check the authenticity of the first such email this season and discovered that we can access accurate information ourselves.

In Mumbai, the popular logic is that high tides cause flooding because seawater enters the storm-water drains. After the cloudburst in July 2005, high tides that occur during the day are flagged off as those that are most likely to cause widespread water-logging and chaos. The disaster control management cell of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) corroborates this.

According to the MCGM, a high tide of more than 4.5 metres above sea level, coupled with very heavy rains, is likely to cause hardships to citizens as the seawater will enter storm-water drains, leading to flooding in low-lying areas of the city.

The MCGM receives information on high tides from the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT), in Colaba, south Mumbai. The table (based on the information that MCGM has received) indicates the high-tide periods during the monsoon months.The table also provides all the helplines, which will give you the latest updates closer to the actual dates when there is a high-tide warning.

Over the past couple of years, MCGM has been informing people about high tides through mass public service SMSs. It also informs the media so that they can alert people.
 
The disaster management control cell has two separate helplines, one for rainfall disaster and another for civic complaints. Sources from the cell also said that any data being broadcast has to be verified by the MCGM commissioner. The MCGM has various regional departments to collect the weather-related data, which is then circulated to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The IMD may circulate the same data to other organisations.

In the future, this data may be available on the government's websites, too. But as of now, most of the data is a compilation made to help sailors.

So the next time you see a warning flash, check with the different agencies and only then form your opinion, instead of blindly trusting these organisations or sources.

Comments
sunil
1 decade ago
Good Story
Govind
1 decade ago
Never!!! I am travelling Thane to CST for last 40 years without any problem. Better to ignore and enjoy monsoon!!!
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