The Pakistan Meteorological Department has issued a flood warning as a monsoon weather system has become active over upper parts of the country, producing widespread thunderstorm and rains in different areas.
The warning was issued by the Flood Forecasting Division in view of the latest hydro-meteorological situation.
The significant flood warning issued on Wednesday indicates that the weather system is likely to persist over the areas during next 36 hours with high probability of heavy to very heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of the Kabul, Jhelum, Chenab and Ravi rivers and moderate to heavy rainfall in Upper Indus Basin, which would likely cause an exceptionally high flood level in River Jhelum at Mangla, upstream, during next 36 hours.
River Indus at Guddu was in low flood, while all the other major rivers were flowing below the low flood level. The forecasting division warned that heavy downpours may generate exceptionally high flooding in River Jhelum at Mangla (upstream) and high flooding in River Chenab at Marala, Khanki and Qadirabad. Medium floods are also expected in the nullahs of Chenab and Ravi rivers and tributaries of River Kabul during next 48 hours.
The meteorological department has also advised all authorities to remain alert in coming days and take precautionary measures to avoid any untoward situation.
The department forecast widespread thunderstorm and rain with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over the upper catchments of Rivers Kabul, Jhelum, Chenab and Ravi along with Hazara, Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala divisions.
Scattered thundershower and rain with moderate to heavy falls are expected over the upper catchment of River Indus along with Malakand, Dera Ismail Khan, Dera Ghazi Khan, Sargodha, Faisalabad and Lahore divisions, east Balochistan and upper Sindh. Isolated thunderstorm and rain is expected over the upper catchment of River Sutlej along with south and southeastern Sindh and Bahawalpur division. However, the rainfalls are likely to decrease in next 48 hours.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) Punjab has revealed that three main spillways of Mangla Dam have been opened following heavy rains and increase of water flow. A spokesperson for the authority said the decision to open the main spillways was taken in light of the standard operating procedure (SOP) as water flow in the dam touched 300,000 cusec and is expected to rise with more rains. A total 100,000 cusecs of water is being discharged from the dam, including 70,000 cusecs from main spillways and the rest from the power plant.
The spokesperson highlighted that the authority had also issued an alert to all government agencies and departments concerned to take precautionary measures to avoid any loss. The authority has also informed the departments concerned for making safety arrangements. The authority has activated its monitoring wing, which will continuously monitor water flows in dams and the flood situation and keep the departments concerned and the public informed about the latest situation, the spokesperson said.
Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has also alerted the line departments in the wake of the warning of possible flood in Chenab and Jhelum rivers and asked the administrations of the districts concerned to remain fully vigilant and ensure necessary measures in advance.
He said the flow of water in rivers should be continuously monitored along with maintaining close liaison with relevant federal agencies. All preparations should be fully completed for dealing with any untoward situation, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2020.
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