Karachi on edge as new monsoon system finally sweeps in
After another hot and humid day that saw the mercury hitting 38.5 degrees Celsius in the city, many localities received rain with strong winds on Wednesday night, plunging several areas into darkness, as weather pundits forecast intermittent rains to continue until Friday evening.
Citizens remained perplexed the entire day after the Met Office’s prediction of heavy to very heavy rains from late Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, but despite an increase in temperature and a hot and humid day with overcast conditions, no part of the city received showers until dusk, but the weather turned pleasant after light rain in different localities.
“At last rain started in Karachi on Wednesday night at around 8pm with strong winds, and it would continue until Friday,” Met Office Karachi Director Abdul Rashid told The News. “A strong monsoon system has started causing rains on the coastal belt of Sindh, and we are receiving heavy rains in the coastal areas of the province, including Badin, Thatta and Sujawal.”
Rashid said the rain-causing monsoon system, which had to cause rain in Karachi, moved very slowly as it strengthened in the coastal area of Sindh, due to which sea breeze to the city was suspended and the temperature rose to around 39 degrees Celsius, adding that after the weather system reached the metropolis, it started causing rains in and around it.
The same system was causing heavy to very heavy rains in lower Sindh, including Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad, Badin, Thatta and Sujawal, while the monsoonal system caused rains in Tharparkar, where people depend on rains for harvesting and raising their livestock, he added.
Met officials informed The News that around 7mm of rain was recorded in Karachi’s Gulshan-e-Hadeed locality until 9pm, 5mm in Landhi, 4.5 mm in North Nazimabad, 3mm in the airport area and 2mm at the PAF Base Masroor, but they forecast some heavy to very heavy spells for Thursday and Friday with the possibility of flooding in many localities.
People left their places of work and business early on Wednesday as they feared traffic snarls-up and accumulation of rainwater on roads because the Met Office had warned of heavy rains.
When it started pouring later in the night, no traffic jams were witnessed on major roads and arteries of the city, while traffic police officials were also been put on alert to avert any traffic mess.
The authorities reiterated that no storm was going to hit the metropolis, but they added that a rain-causing system from the Indian state of Gujarat had entered Pakistan and was causing heavy rains in the coastal belt, directing people to take precautionary measures and avoid unnecessarily staying outside.
The K-Electric also asked people to remain vigilant, saying that their teams were put on alert, and they urged people to avoid using illegal power connections because they could cause accidents. The utility also warned people to stay away from electricity poles and fallen wires, especially during strong winds and rain.
Although weather pundits refused to forecast the amount of rain to be expected in the city, they warned that some heavy spells of rain could cause accumulation of rainwater, traffic congestions and power breakdowns. They urged people to remain cautious to avoid accidents and inconveniences due to flawed infrastructure.
In its regular weather advisory to the media, the Met Office said on Wednesday evening that widespread thunderstorm with gusty winds was expected at scattered places in Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad and Karachi divisions in the wee hours of Thursday, while widespread rain or thunderstorm accompanied by gusty winds, with isolated heavy to very heavy falls, were expected in lower Sindh (Mirpurkhas, Hyderabad and Karachi divisions) from Thursday to Friday.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority, the Karachi commissioner’s office, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, the Sindh Health Department and various tertiary care hospitals have already declared high alert and emergency, with the authorities claiming that they were ready to face any emergency situation in the city during rains.