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Rain havoc in Karachi

August 18, 2006

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KARACHI, Aug 17: At least 13 people died here from electrocution as heavy storms with thunder and lightning struck many parts of the country on Thursday, paralysing life and wreaking havoc on the power supply and communications networks.

Already reeling from the aftermath of the dripping monsoon, which began like clockwork on July 31, Karachi faced the season’s heaviest rainfall of 56 millimetres — much below the city’s record 24-hour rainfall of 278.1 millimetres on Aug 7, 1953.

The city’s roads, particularly those in downtown, turned into enormous puddles of rainwater which caused nasty traffic jams that continued hours after the rain had stopped.

Education authorities announced that schools and colleges in Karachi would remain closed on Friday.

The Civil Aviation Authority delayed several flights due to the inclement weather.

Many other cities, such as Hyderabad, Nawabshah, Khairpur and Sanghar, also received downpour. About 50mm rainfall was recorded in Hyderabad.

Farmers said the sugarcane crop, which ordinarily benefited from rain, had been damaged by gale-force winds that uprooted the crop in Sanghar. They added that torrential rains dealt a bitter blow to the standing cotton crop days before the harvest time.

The director-general of the Pakistan Meteorological Department, Dr Qamaruzzaman Chaudhry, said a low-pressure weather system from India was responsible for the ongoing wet spell.

“The spell will continue for the next 15 to 18 hours. Another low-pressure weather system, accompanied by torrential rains, will hit lower Sindh a day after the current rain spell has come to an end,” he warned.