One dies as Karachi receives first winter shower

Published December 28, 2021
A man along with a woman pulls his motorcycle after it breaks down on a city road; vehicles stuck in a traffic jam on Sharea Faisal during rain on Monday.—Online / Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
A man along with a woman pulls his motorcycle after it breaks down on a city road; vehicles stuck in a traffic jam on Sharea Faisal during rain on Monday.—Online / Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: A man was electrocuted on Monday during the daylong light-to-moderate rain that badly hit the city’s sewerage system, severed power supply and brought the vehicular traffic movement in all metropolis districts at a snail’s pace due to inundated roads and thoroughfares.

The downpour nullified the claims made by the federal and provincial governments about improvement in the city infrastructure that failed to brave the first shower of winter.

Karachi remained under thick and dark clouds on Monday and different parts of the metropolis received light and moderate showers throughout the day.

The intermittent downpour continued to play havoc with the city’s ill-maintained traffic, electricity and sewerage systems amid warning from the Met office and weather enthusiasts that the current system is “likely to stay for the next 24 hours” but would definitely weaken.

The clouds started gathering over the city landscape late on Sunday night and finally it rained early in the morning. A few Karachi districts started receiving showers well before the sunset on Sunday.

26mm rainfall

The weather in the city turned pleasant but cold on Monday following the rainfall the maximum of which (26mm) was recorded in the area of PAF Faisal Base by the Met department.

According to a Met official, Monday (Dec 27, 2021) was recorded as the second warmest day in the month of December since 2008.

“Today’s maximum temperature was 19 degrees Celsius. The warmest day in the month of December was earlier recorded in 2008 when the temperature increased to 19.6 ° C,” said Dr Sardar Sarfaraz, chief meteorologist at the Met department.

The city of Karachi received ‘good rainfall’ in a winter month after several years, he added.

“It’s after 2012 that Karachi received rainfall that can be described as good. It would help clean air and reduce pollutants besides improving groundwater level, filling reservoirs and benefitting farmers,” he said.

According to him, the city will likely have fair but partially cloudy weather on Tuesday. The maximum and minimum temperature is likely to range between 24-28 ° C and 12-14 °C, respectively.

Citing the data, he said the 24-hour highest rainfall in the month of December was 43.8mm, which was recorded in 1980.

The rainfall data of other areas on Monday: PAF Masroor Base 18mm, Nazimabad 18.2mm, University Road/Met Complex 17mm, Gulshan-i-Hadeed 15mm, MOS (old airport area) 16.9mm, Jinnah Terminal 13.2mm, Quaidabad N/R, Orangi Town 12.5mm,Surjani Town (12.6mm) and Saadi Town 12.1mm, North Karachi 13.7mm, DHA Phase II 12mm, Kemari 12mm and Jamia-ur-Rasheed 10.4mm.

The minimum temperature recorded in the morning was 16 °C with 90 per cent relative humidity which increased to 95pc in the evening.

Though the rain count shared by the Met office did not suggest any major spell or heavy downpour, the brief drizzling and moderate shower led to collapse of the traffic system causing hour-long traffic jams on almost all key roads only to test the patience of commuters.

The traffic flow that started slowing down at around 5pm turned worse by the sunset and took hours to get eased amid development works on key roads, non-functioning of several traffic signals and absence of traffic officials from some intersections.

The traffic authorities, however, blamed accumulated water on main roads that affected the traffic pace which ultimately turned into gridlocks. They also found much larger number of vehicles on roads on Monday being the first day of the week after the two-day weekly break.

Power outages

Within first few drops of the rain, the power supply system in the city failed to prove its effectiveness and traditionally most parts of the city remained in darkness even after hours of the outages.

K-Electric claimed to have taken precautionary measures in several areas as an excuse for the power suspension and launched repair work in the affected areas.

In a statement, the power utility said the areas with high incidence of theft and illegal connections usage were pre-emptively shutdown temporarily in the interest of safety of the residents and the power was swiftly restored after receiving clearance from the ground team.

“Consumers were also kept informed about the power situation via K-Electric broadcast of live updates via its social media platforms. During the ongoing spell the maximum number of feeders switched off for safety reasons was 380 out of KE’s network of more than 1,900 feeders,” it said.

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old man was electrocuted in Saddar area. A rescue official identified him as Ghulam Hussain who died near Frere Market.

The KE, in its statement, challenged the claim and called it a natural death on the basis of its own investigation.

“KE teams also proactively investigated reports of an unfortunate death incident which was reported from Frere Market Area of Saddar. Findings suggested that the death occurred because of natural causes and was not the result of electrocution,” it added.

Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2021

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