(Clockwise from left) Traffic moves at a snail’s pace during downpour as Shahrah-i-Liaquat in front of Empress Market, M.A. Jinnah Road near Gurumandir and the Arts Council roundabout near the Sindh Assembly are inundated with rainwater on Friday.—Fahim Siddiqi / Shakil Adil / White Star
(Clockwise from left) Traffic moves at a snail’s pace during downpour as Shahrah-i-Liaquat in front of Empress Market, M.A. Jinnah Road near Gurumandir and the Arts Council roundabout near the Sindh Assembly are inundated with rainwater on Friday.—Fahim Siddiqi / Shakil Adil / White Star

KARACHI: Under the ongoing westerly wave, the city received moderate to heavy spells of rains with thunder on Friday, which continued intermittently for eight hours throughout the day submerging key roads, underpasses and main arteries in the metropolis.

The area of Quaidabad received the heaviest rain, 42.5 millimetres, or 1.67 inches.

Despite hour-long raining, the life largely remained unaffected as no major incident was witnessed or reported in the city.

Traffic on main roads also kept moving, although with hiccups due to overflowing sewage lines which continued to test the patience of motorists and pedestrians.

Key roads, underpasses, main arteries submerged

The Sindh government’s move of declaring Friday as half day a day earlier and issuing a warning to people of ‘not to step out of their homes unnecessarily’ coupled with the hype on social media about expected torrent rains apparently worked as people preferred to stay indoors leaving roads with thin traffic while many commercial centres also remained deserted.

 Riders on a motorcycle wrap a plastic sheet over themselves to shelter as they make their way along a road amid rains in Karachi on March 1, 2024. — AFP
Riders on a motorcycle wrap a plastic sheet over themselves to shelter as they make their way along a road amid rains in Karachi on March 1, 2024. — AFP

As predicted by the Met office, the rain started pouring in most parts of the city after 11am on Friday which continued with frequent breaks till sunset.

The most intense spell was witnessed in the evening a little before sunset when most parts of the city received heavy downpour.

The Met office said though the fresh system under the westerly wave was still there, it had already lost its intensity and expected to fizzle out in Karachi by Saturday morning and by evening in other parts of Sindh.

After Quaidabad that received the heaviest amount of rains, other prominent spots included DHA Phase-II which received 39.5mm rain, followed by Korangi with 39.3mm, Keamari 31mm, Surjani Town 30.4mm, PAF Base Faisal 26mm, Nazimabad 12.5mm, airport 12.3mm and University Road 10.3mm.

All other areas of the city, according to the Met Office, received a single-digit count of the downpour.

While rainwater accumulated in several areas, timely response from the Sindh government and the city administration with deployment of machinery managed to clear most key roads within in couple of hours.

The city administration pulled all available resources together and executed its emergency plan accordingly, officials said.

“It has rained constantly for the past 2 hours and has just stopped,” Karachi Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab Siddiqi wrote in a post on social media platform X [formerly Twitter] after the last spell in the evening.

“For the information of commuters, Shahrah e Faisal is clear and open for traffic. All municipal staff is out on the roads to ensure that inconvenience to people can be minimised. Suction machinery at all the underpasses is in working condition as well to ensure water is dispersed,” he posted.

Apart from pumps, he said, 53 suction vehicles were moved to various locations for clearing of rainwater as and when required, he said.

Apart from traffic police, wardens had also been placed on major arteries to help ease the traffic flow, he added.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2024

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