Karachi receives brief spell of ‘unexpected’ rain

Updated September 24, 2019

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Motorists caught in the downpour in Saddar and (right) a massive snarl-up is seen on Korangi Road after the rainfall on Monday.—Shakil Adil / White Star
Motorists caught in the downpour in Saddar and (right) a massive snarl-up is seen on Korangi Road after the rainfall on Monday.—Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: A brief spell of “unexpected rain” on Monday played havoc with the city’s ill-maintained sewerage, sanitation, traffic as well as power supply systems as the local administration and other institutions concerned failed to show any sign of improvement despite strong criticism from different segments of society.

The Met Office termed the fresh spell of rain, which also turned the hot weather pleasant, an “unexpected” one as it was nowhere in their forecast that had referred to intense “heating” under the influence of another low-pressure area formed in the Bay of Bengal and cyclonic storm Hikaa.

“A deep depression over east-central Arabian Sea has intensified into cyclonic storm Hikaa and tracked westwards at a speed of 15km/hour and now located about 520km southwest of Karachi,” said the Monday morning advisory issued by the Met Office. “Hikaa is likely to intensify further during the next 24 hours and continue tracking westwards Oman coast. Currently no Pakistani coastal area is under threat from this system.”

Gulistan-i-Jauhar receives 20mm of rainfall; more showers expected tomorrow

The situation started changing in the second half of the day and by 5pm thick, dark clouds covered the city and caused rain.

Met official Sardar Sarfaraz said the rainy season for Karachiites was not yet over. “We see, or predict, rains on Sept 25 and 26. Similarly, another low pressure area is looming around Indian Gujarat with its extension to lower Sindh including Karachi from Sept 29,” he said.

Meanwhile, the maximum rainfall, 20 millimetres, was recorded in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and adjoining areas followed by areas around Faisal Base (15.2mm), North Karachi (4.8mm), Surjani Town (2mm), Landhi and Nazimabad received 1mm of rain and traces were recorded in other areas of the city.

Motorists caught in the downpour in Saddar and (right) a massive snarl-up is seen on Korangi Road after the rainfall on Monday.—Shakil Adil / White Star
Motorists caught in the downpour in Saddar and (right) a massive snarl-up is seen on Korangi Road after the rainfall on Monday.—Shakil Adil / White Star

The moderate shower led to the collapse of the traffic system in the city causing hours-long traffic jams on almost all key roads only to test the patience of commuters.

The traffic flow started slowing down at around 5pm and it turned worse on key roads by sunset. It took hours to ease out amid development work, non-functioning of traffic signals and absence of traffic officials from some intersections.

The rain also deepened the electricity crisis in the city as prior to the downpour, the city was already facing a power crisis since K-Electric had announced that it was facing a shortfall of 200 megawatts that forced it to carry out load management in those areas which had already been exempted from loadshedding.

The rain, however, compounded the problem as power supply in several areas remained suspended till late in the night.

Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2019