Monsoon rain will continue to target southwestern India, where nearly two dozen people were killed this week. Many dams have been filled to near capacity, with the shutters of one opened for the first time in 26 years.
At least 23 people died when heavy rain and landslides struck Kerala on Wednesday night, according to the Times of India. Ten others are still missing.
The greatest loss of life occurred in the district of Idukki, where 11 people died.
Rainfall in nearby Kochi totaled 46 mm (1.81 inches) from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday morning, local time.
Heavy rain amounted to 63 mm (2.49 inches) in the 24 hours ending on Wednesday morning at Honavar, while Thiruvananthapuram received 56 mm (2.20 inches) of rain from Wednesday to Thursday mornings.
Rising water levels have pushed many dams to near capacity, according to the Times of India. As a result, shutters of at least 24 reservoirs in Kerala have been opened to release the excess water.
One of the five shutters of the Idukki reservoir’s Cheruthoni Dam were opened for the first time in 26 years, according to Hindustan Times. Officials are planning to have the shutter open for four hours.
Dams downstream will have to be opened to ease the pressure of the increased water flow coming from the Cheruthoni Dam, while at least 3,000 families have been moved to higher ground.
Farther north, Hindustan Times reported that landslides completely cut off Wayanad district. The army was brought in to clear roads.
An end to the bouts of monsoon rain streaming onto the southwestern coast of India is not expected through at least next week. Additional substantial rain can exacerbate ongoing flooding or trigger new problems. More landslides can be triggered and threaten lives and property.
Runoff from the torrential rain can further bring rivers out of their banks and put a strain on the dams throughout the region.
Elsewhere across India, downpours will be most numerous and threaten to cause flash flooding from Uttar Pradesh to easternmost Maharashtra to Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
Such downpours will graze New Delhi at times, leading to travel disruptions.
“After rain on Thursday, northwestern India from Rajasthan to Gujarat will turn drier Friday and into this weekend,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.
That is not a sign that the monsoon is over for these areas.
“The heaviest rain will ebb and flow across northern India during the next two weeks,” Nicholls said. “One monsoon low will shift the focus of heavy rain from east to west across northern India next week, a pattern we should see repeated the following week.”
Nicholls anticipates the first monsoon low to return rain to Rajasthan and Gujarat later next week.
Monsoon downpours will also frequent northeastern India during this time, but the same cannot be said for southeastern India.
“As is typical, Chennai and other areas of southeastern India should not get much rainfall,” Nicholls said. “Their rainy season does not unfold until the October-to-December time frame.”