Bengaluru, Oct 22 (IANS) Heavy to very heavy rains across Karnataka disrupted normal life, caused rivers to overflow, inundated low-laying areas and hit vehicular traffic, a weather official said on Tuesday.”Due to low pressure in the Arabia Sea on the west and depression in the Bay of Bengal in the east have created conditions for heavy to very heavy rains and thundershowers across the state with strong surface winds,” a Meteorological Department official told IANS here.Besides flood alert in the coastal areas and evacuation of people from low-laying areas and river banks in northern districts, the authorities declared holidays for schools and colleges in rain-soaked Belagavi, Bagalkote and Vijayapura districts till Friday ahead of the Diwali festival.”With heavy to very heavy rains forecast over the next four days, we have issued an orange alert and red alert for extremely heavy rainfall across the state as a precautionary measure to ensure safety of the people, cattle and houses,” said the official.Orange alert indicates heavy to very heavy rainfall and red alert extremely heavy rainfall. Rainfall from 7-12 cm is considered heavy and 12-20 cm as very heavy. Torrential downpour above 20cm is termed as extreme rainfall.”Orange alert mandates the state machinery to be ready for rain-related exigency while red alert demands action. Yellow alert makes the authorities keep a watch and stay vigilant,” added the official.Regionwise, the forecast is heavy to very heavy rainfall in coastal areas till October 25, with scattered and isolated rains on October 23-24.In north interior areas, isolated heavy to very heavy rains are predicted from October 23-26.In south interior areas, widespread rains have been forecast on October 23-24.Rains and thundershowers continued to lash several districts across the southern state, including Kolar, Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysuru, Kodagu, Chikkamgaluru, Hubli-Dharwad, Gadag, Haveri, Raichur, Yadgir and Uttara Kannada.According to Karnataka State Disaster Management Authority Director G.S. Srinivasa Reddy, streams and rivers are in spate due to heavy rains across the state, especially in catchment areas.”Areas which used to get less rains are getting more rains this time. Heavy rainfall in the neighbouring Maharashtra has led to heavy inflows into our state’s northern districts, resulting in submergence of Kudthini and Athini road bridges in Belagavi district” Reddy told IANS.Relief camps have been set up at Belagavi, Bagalkot, Chikkmagaluru, Kodagu, Haveri, Chitradurga, Gadag, Dharwad to shelter 2,180 people shifted from low-laying and flood-hit areas.Preliminary property damage report 5,444 houses affected and 45 animal deaths. A dozen camps were set up to shelter 130 cattle.”Three National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams have been pressed into service, with two at Belagavi and one at Gadag. Three more teams to be stationed at Dharwad, Bagalkote and Haveri,” added Reddy. –IANSsth-fb/vd
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