— File photo
— File photo

RAWALPINDI: Monsoon currents are penetrating the upper parts of the country and are likely to continue into next week.

The Met Office has predicted the monsoon currents to strengthen from next week under the influence of this weather system.

Rain and wind-thundershowers are expected in Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Chakwal, Attock as well as other cities of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this week.

Officials said monsoon begins in Pakistan on July 1 and ends on Sept 15, but two spells of pre-monsoon rain are expected in upper parts of the country before that.

The Met Office has predicted above average rainfall in the coming monsoon.

In Rawalpindi, the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has started dredging Leh Nullah and the Rawalpindi Metropolitan Corporation (RMC) is de-silting 11 big nullahs and drains in the city to prevent flooding in the monsoon.

Wasa Managing Director Raja Shaukat Mahmood told Dawn that the dredging of Leh Nullah is being carried out by Wasa and will be completed by June 25.

He said this year, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) predicted 20pc more rainfall than in previous years. In this context, Wasa has finalised a 2020 monsoon plan and all the necessary arrangements are being made to cope with the upcoming monsoon.

“A rain emergency has been enforced till Sept 15,” he said, adding that five field offices have been set up as flood response units at Moti Mahal, Liaquat Bagh, Bagh Sardaran, Commercial Market, Satellite Town and Khayaban-i-Sir Syed. Wasa’s heavy machinery has also been deployed at these units.

Mr Mahmood said that the dredging is the responsibility of Wasa while other nullahs and drains are the responsibility of the RMC.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, strong wind and light rainfall brought a much-needed respite from the hot weather that has prevailed in the twin cities for about two weeks.

A Met official said the winds in Rawalpindi reached 50 kilometres an hour, and 60km an hour in Islamabad. Temperatures fell from 39°C to 26°C in Islamabad and to 28°C in Rawalpindi. “Light rain and gustywinds are also expected during the next 24 hours. This will weaken the humid and hot weather conditions,” the official said.

The wind began after 5pm, blowing away some signboards on main roads and knocking down trees in Westridge and on Peshawar Road and Jhelum Road. No loss of life was reported.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2020