BENGALURU : Kerala got a breather on Tuesday as rains eased, with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) lifting the ‘red alert’ issued on Monday for seven of 14 districts.

Torrential rains, however, continue to wreak havoc in commercial capital Ernakulam, also known as Kochi, with houses, commercial buildings, including banks, major arterial roads and low-lying areas, flooded. As of 21 October, rains in Kerala were 40% above normal rains, according to private weather forecaster Skymet.

The state has been receiving heavy rains with the arrival of northeast monsoon, and will likely face more rainy days because of two cyclonic formations in Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

“Under the influence of the above systems, fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy falls likely over peninsular India during next 4 days and over eastern & northeastern parts of India on 24th & 25th October," the IMD said.

Unlike the four-month southwest monsoon which accounts for over 75% of India’s annual rainfall, showers during the northeast monsoon season is limited to southern peninsula. It provides rainfall to Tamil Nadu, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalseema, Kerala and south-interior Karnataka during October to December.

The IMD has issued an ‘orange alert’ for tourism hotspot Idukki, anticipating heavy to very heavy rains. ‘Yellow alert’ has been issued for four districts— Pathanamthitta, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad.

Waterlogging in Kochi has prompted the Kerala high court to take cognizance of the matter, asking corporation officials to handle the situation on a war footing.

The court observed that a major lifeline of the city, Thevara- Perandoor canal, has turned into a slush pool of sewage and blamed encroachment of lake-beds and unauthorised constructions as much as the heavy rains for the frequent floods and waterlogging in the city. It was a “disaster waiting to happen", the court said, according to local news reports.

Heavy rains have thrown normal life out of gear in northern Karnataka and Telangana as well.

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