As heavy rains continued to lash various parts of Kerala, two more shutters of the Idukki Dam, part of the Idukki reservoir, were opened on Friday as the water level touched 2,401 feet.

For the first time in the last 26 years, a shutter of the dam was opened on Thursday, while two more were opened at 7 am on Friday.

The full reservoir level is 2,403 feet and it has a storage capacity of 69,268 Mcft.

The south-west monsoon has been vigorous over Kerala resulting in heavy rains in various parts of the state for the last two days.

Kerala Power Minister MM Mani, who hails from Idukki, told reporters that the decision to open two more shutters of the dam was taken to prevent the water level from reaching its full strength of 2,403 feet.

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“Despite that opening (first shutter), there has been a steady inflow and currently the water level in the dam stands at 2,401 feet. Hence, the decision to release more water was taken.

“This is not going to create any issues as we are soon planning to close down the shutters,” said Mani.

He, however, pointed out that there could be problem at some places in Ernakulam and its nearby areas, as the water released from the dam could reach these places. “But we are confident that things can be controlled,” he said.

So far, 26 people have died, including 11 in high range Idukki, as rain continued to pound the southern state. Idukki has received 129.80 mm rainfall.

The Army and Coast Guard are taking part in rescue-relief and damage control exercises in Idukki, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram districts.

Several districts have been receiving heavy rains since Wednesday.

With water levels rising in various dams and reaching almost maximum capacity, shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water.

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According to state disaster control room sources, 241 relief camps have been opened and 15,695 people have been shifted from low-lying areas.

Over 5,500 people from Wayanad district, where a red alert had been sounded yesterday, have been shifted to relief camps, the sources said this morning.

According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin at 8 am, thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds are likely to affect Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Wayanad districts.

The government has asked tourists not to go to high range areas and dam sites.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had described the flood situation in the state as “very grim” and it was for the first time in the history of the state that 24 dams had been opened at a time following the water level reaching maximum capacity.

(With inputs from agencies)