LAHORE: A cloudburst in downtown Lahore at a time when monsoon has started its early retreat turned streets into rivulets, disrupted power supply and flight operation at the airport on Sunday.
The sudden rain was brief but heavy. It inundated roads and rainwater entered houses in some low- lying localities.
Rain that started soon after dark clouds covered the city affected traffic on The Mall, Jail Road, at Laxmi Chowk, Gulberg, Shadman, Samanabad and Gulshan-i-Ravi.
Several cars and motorcycles broke down on the submerged roads, causing a great deal of inconvenience to the people.
Below normal rains likely in KP, Balochistan, central and lower Punjab and Sindh; drought-like conditions to persist in Tharparkar
The Met department recorded 80 millimetres of rainfall at the airport and 68mm at Paniwala Talab inside the Walled City. It recorded 63mm rainfall in Shadman, 55mm at Laxmi Chowk and 58mm in Wasanpura.
As usual, rain disrupted power supply to a number of localities. According to the Lahore Electric Supply Company, 89 feeders tripped during the rain. However, some of them were restored till the filing of this report on Sunday evening.
Officials at the Lahore airport reported disruption of flight operations due to the downpour and strong winds. About 20 domestic and foreign flights were reportedly affected.
The Met department also reported rain at isolated places in Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala divisions as well as in Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. It recorded 25mm of rain in Okara, 22mm in Muree, 9mm in Faisalabad, 2mm in Kasur, 6mm in Garhi Dupatta and 3mm in Bunji.
The Met department has, in the meantime, said that the monsoon air mass is retreating from Pakistan, allowing western disturbances to gradually penetrate southern latitude during the next two to three months.
It says the monsoon weather system will gradually diminish during the first fortnight of the current month.
Rains will be scanty and remain slightly below normal in central and lower Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh. However, moderate-to-severe drought-like conditions are expected in lower Balochistan and Tharparkar, Sindh.
The mountainous region of Gilgit-Baltistan and upper KP may receive normal precipitation during the period, while snowfall is expected at higher elevation next month.
Due to gradual fall in temperature, snow and glacier melt contribution to the Indus River will be minimal during the period.
The Met Office says Mangla reservoir could not be filled to its full capacity due to less rains this season.
The Met department’s record shows that the country recorded seven per cent above normal rainfall in May and June. But it was 30.4pc less than its normal range in July and August.
The below-normal rainfall has caused drought-like conditions over most of the southern parts of Pakistan. Moderate to severe drought is prevailing in most parts of Sindh (Tharparkar, Matiari, Hyderabad, Jacobabad, Dadu, Karachi, Umerkot, Sanghar, Sujawal, Shaheed Benazirabad, Jamshoro and Khairpur) and Balochistan (Dalbandin, Gwadar, Jiwani, Panjgur, Pasni, Nokundi, Ormara, Quetta and Turbat), and mild to moderate drought conditions at a few places of south Punjab (Multan and Mianwali) and Gilgit-Baltistan (Bunji, Chilas, Gilgit and Gupis). Drought conditions may become severe in the coming days, especially in southern parts of the country.
Dry conditions will cause water stress in the cultivated land/areas during the Kharif sowing season. Tarbela Dam has been filled but Mangla is almost half empty. Therefore, the authorities concerned should be ready to meet the situation, according to Met department.
Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2018