4 killed as dust storm, rain hit parts of Karachi after severe heat spell

Published May 18, 2021
A general view shows Karachi on May 18 during a dust storm. — AFP
A general view shows Karachi on May 18 during a dust storm. — AFP
The city experienced gusty winds followed by light rain on Tuesday.  — DawnNewsTV
The city experienced gusty winds followed by light rain on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

At least four people were killed in roof collapse incidents after a dust storm followed by light rain hit parts of Karachi on Tuesday evening, after the city remained in the grips of a severe heat spell for two days.

The gusty winds could be seen flying objects around as the dark clouds covered parts of the city.

Soon after the weather conditions changed, residents in some areas reported power outages.

The districts in lower Sindh including Karachi have been under the influence of cyclonic storm Tauktae, and on Monday the mercury rose to 43.5 degrees Celsius in Karachi.

Sardar Sarfaraz of the Met department told Dawn.com that the dust storm was caused due to the influence of the cyclone system being in southern Pakistan's vicinity combined with local weather conditions.

He said Karachi could experience gusty winds again until the cyclone system is out of the region.

Sarfaraz noted that the city's temperature had fallen by 7-8 degrees soon after the dust storm, saying it was likely to drop further as the weather normalises.

The official had earlier told Dawn that the storm had started dissipating and weather in lower Sindh would improve by Wednesday as the sea breeze blocked by the storm would resume.

The strong winds caused roofs to collapse in several areas, killing a man and a woman in Dabba Colony, a nine-year-old child in Shershah, and a man in Baldia No. 14, according to a Karachi Police statement.

Meanwhile, traffic was moving slowly in a Nazimabad area after a tree fell down on a road. Traffic coming from the Habib Bank towards Nazimabad was diverted to the flyover.

In an alert on Tuesday, the Pakistan Meteorological Department said Tauktae, after intensifying into an "extremely severe cyclonic storm", had crossed Gujarat in India last night and weakened into a severe cyclonic storm laying over Rajasthan, India.

"A few dust/thunderstorm-rain [spells] accompanied with gusty winds of 30-50km/h may occur in Tharparkar and Umerkot districts during next 12 hours," the advisory said, adding that hot and dry weather will continue on Tuesday (today) in Karachi, Hyderabad, Shaheed Benazirabad, Badin and Mirpurkhas districts.

According to the alert, sea conditions will remain rough till Tuesday evening and fishermen of Sindh are advised to avoid going into deep sea. "They can resume their activities from tomorrow," it said.

In India, at least 24 people were killed and almost 100 went missing after Cyclone Tauktae slammed into its western parts on Monday evening, compounding the country's woes as it battles a devastating coronavirus surge.

Hundreds of thousands of people were also left without power after the monster cyclone hammered the Gujarat coast.

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