KARACHI: The days of anxiety and panic in Karachi were finally over on Friday when cyclone Shaheen moved away from Sindh’s coast, though it did induce high winds, light to moderate rainfall, at times isolated heavy falls, in the city that remained on the edge due to the threat of urban flooding and inundation of coastal areas.
According to the Met department, the cyclone despite gaining intensity and severity is gradually moving towards Oman’s coast and losing impact on Balochistan’s coast.
Sea conditions, however, would remain rough/very rough till Oct 3 and fishermen are advised not to venture into the sea during this period.
The fourth cyclone of 2021 in the region, cyclone Shaheen currently prevailing over north Arabian Sea has developed out of the remnants of cyclone Gulab which formed in the Bay of Bengal and had a landfall in the Indian coastal regions of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa a few days ago.
““The cyclone moved from northwest towards west due to a change in the winds’ pattern in the upper atmosphere from southeast to east. It’s actually the upper atmospheric winds that steer any weather system,” said Sardar Sarfaraz said, while explaining how cyclone’s impact was reduced on Pakistan’s coast.
Intermittent rains continue in city; one dies from electrocution
The weather system did get favourable conditions in the Arabian Sea that had helped it turn into a severe cyclone, he added.
According to an advisory released by the Met office at 6pm on Friday, the cyclonic storm “Shaheen” moved west-northwestward during the last six hours with a speed of 15km/hour, intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and “now lies at a distance of about 400 km southwest of Karachi, 240km from Ormara and 250km southeast of Gwadar.
“Estimated maximum sustained surface wind is 90-110km/hr and sea condition is rough/very rough around the system centre. The system is likely to move west-northwestwards till tomorrow evening and then re-curve southwestward towards Muscat, Oman coast.”
Under the influence of this weather system, widespread rain-wind-thunderstorms with scattered heavy/very heavy falls are likely in Gwadar, Lasbela, Awaran, Kech, Khuzdar and Panjgur districts of Balochistan till Oct 3 (Sunday).
Isolated thunderstorm/light rain expected in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin and Dadu districts till Sunday.
Authorities in Balochistan are on ‘high alert’.
Karachi receives maximum 39mm rain
The maximum rainfall in the five spells of rain since Friday morning are recorded as: Gulshan-i-Hadeed (39mm), Surjani (27.4mm), North Karachi (26.8mm), Quaidabad (26.3mm), Nazimabad (26.2mm), PAF Masroor Base (26mm), Orangi Town (25mm), PAF Faisal Base (22mm), DHA Phase II (21.5mm), Keamari (20mm), airport (17.2mm), Saadi Town (13.5mm), University Road (12.4mm), Gulshan-i-Maymar (11.3mm).
The maximum and minimum temperatures recorded in the city were 30.5 degrees Celsius and 26 degrees Celsius with 85 per cent and 92pc relative humidity.
The on and off spells of rain across the city continued testing the capacity of the metropolis’s vulnerable infrastructure.
Although key arteries this time didn’t witness any flooding, submerging of several areas was witnessed.
Early morning announcement of the Met office that the cyclone posed no more direct threat to the city brought a sigh of relief to Karachiites, who otherwise were going through an anxiety amid wide coverage of the cyclone by the broadcast media and measures being taken by the local administration.
The late night announcement of local holiday due to the looming threat had further deepened fears.
Although, no major untoward incident was reported in the city, a young man died of electrocution in Orangi Town on Friday.
The area police said 27-year-old Faiz Khursheed got an electric shock near Ghausia Masjid in Sector-16.
They said that the exact cause of electrocution could not be determined.
Standing rainwater causes traffic jam
Many roads, streets and neighbourhoods were remained submerged by rainwater after Friday’s rains.
Road users faced slow movement of vehicles because of standing rainwater on streets.
The traffic flow turned worst by 3pm on key roads and took hours to normalise.
The authorities blamed standing rainwater on many roads for snarl-ups.
The strong winds of Thursday that uprooted several structures pushed the municipal authorities in south district to remove nine advertising hoardings which were declared unsafe.
A few neighbourhoods also complained about electricity outages.
In a few Federal B. Area blocks power remained suspended till Friday afternoon.
The K-Electric claimed it ensured that that the supply remained normal across the city.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2021