KARACHI: The Pakistan Meteorological Department on Tuesday warned of torrential rains across Sindh and several Balochistan’s districts that might generate urban flooding in coastal towns and districts including Karachi.
The situation, being described as “dangerous” by Met officials, is expected to emerge when remnants of cyclone Gulab currently prevailing as a low pressure area over central India reaches Indian Gujarat and gathers steam.
“A low-pressure area [remnant of the cyclonic storm Gulab] currently lying over central India is likely to track in northwest direction [towards Indian Gujarat area]. The system is likely to re-emerge over the northeast Arabian Sea by Wednesday night/Thursday morning and regain intensity due to favourable environmental conditions,” said an advisory released by the Met department’s tropical cyclone warning centre.
Raises alarm as remnants of Gulab may gather steam
Under the system’s influence, according to the advisory, widespread rain-wind-thunderstorms with scattered heavy/very heavy falls, extremely heavy at times, are likely in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Thaparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Naushehro Feroze, Tando Mohamad Khan, Tando Allah Yar, Dadu, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana, Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Ghotki districts during Sep 28 and Oct 2.
“Widespread rain-wind-thunderstorms with scattered heavy/very heavy falls, extremely heavy at times, are likely in Bela, Awaran, Kech, Makran and Panjgur districts of Balochistan between Sep 30 and Oct 3,” it added.
The districts likely to face urban flooding due to heavy downpour are Karachi, Badin, Thatta, Hyderabad, Dadu, Lasbela, Sonmiani, Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar, Turbat and Jiwani.
“Windstorm may cause damage to vulnerable structures. Sea conditions would remain rough/very rough with occasional high surge. Fishermen are advised not to venture in the sea from Thursday to Saturday [Oct 3],” the advisory said, asking all authorities concerned to remain alert during the forecast period.
‘A dangerous situation’
Speaking to Dawn, Sardar Sarfaraz representing the Met department said all forecast models available locally and internationally were suggesting a dangerous situation.
“This means moderate to heavy to extremely heavy rains along Sindh-Makran coast from Thursday [tomorrow] till Oct 3 that might have a devastating effect on our weak urban infrastructure,” he said.
The town of Chhor in Umerkot had 100mm rain in three hours on Monday night but nobody noticed it since it’s a small place, he added.
The core system, he said, was currently away but would reach Karachi within eight to 10 hours when it reached Indian Gujarat.
Mr Sarfarz rejected reports of “micro cloud bursts” in Karachi a day earlier.
Meanwhile, the Fishermen Cooperative Society (FCS) on Tuesday, alerted all fishermen out at sea about expected sea storms in the next five days.
Zahid Ibrahim Bhatti, administrator FCS, has also issued a notification for all fishermen to avoid the deep sea during this time. And those boats, which are already out in the deep have also been asked to return.
“We are very concerned for the safety of our fishermen,” said the FCS administrator. We have also urged them to spread the message further among more members of their community,” he added.
It might be recalled that cyclone Gulab developed over the Bay of Bengal a few days back and had landfall in the Indian coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2021