The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) on Thursday issued an alert for a tropical cyclone, saying that a previously “well-marked low pressure” over Indian Gujarat had intensified into a depression after moving over the northeast Arabian Sea and now stood at a distance of about 240km from Karachi.
Late at night, the Sindh Education Department announced that all private and government schools and colleges would remain closed on Friday (today).
The PMD has predicted torrential rain and squally winds along the Sindh-Makran coast, noting that the system was likely to intensify further into a cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours and move northwestwards.
“The depression over northeast Arabian Sea has moved west-northwestward at a speed of 20km/hour during [the] last 12 hours, [and] now lies at [a] latitude 23.0N and longitude 67.8E, at a distance of about 240km east-southeast of Karachi, 200km from Thatta and 410km from Ormara,” the alert read.
Widespread rain, wind thunderstorms with scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall were likely in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Thaparkar, Umerkot, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Nausheroferoze, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allahyar, Dadu, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana, Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Ghotki districts from Thursday afternoon till late evening on Saturday (tomorrow).
The PMD predicted that widespread rain, wind thunderstorms with scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall were also likely in Gwadar, Lasbela, Awaran, Kech, Khuzdar, Kalat and Panjgur districts of Balochistan from Thursday to Sunday.
"Torrential rains may generate urban flooding in Karachi, Badin, Thatta, Hyderabad, Dadu, Mirpurkhas, Shaheed Benazirabad, Lasbela, Somiani, Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar, Turbat and Jiwani.”
The department warned that sea conditions would remain rough till Sunday and asked fishermen to refrain from venturing into the water until then.
The windstorm may also damage vulnerable structures.
The department said its Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Karachi was closely monitoring the system and told authorities concerned to remain on high alert during this period.
On Thursday, light rain accompanied by gusty winds hit parts of Karachi.
Earlier, the city’s administrator Murtaza Wahab had directed the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and district municipal corporations (DMCs) to formulate a comprehensive strategy to deal with the next spell of monsoon rains.
The previous rain spells this month had wreaked havoc on the city’s crumbling road infrastructure.
Accumulated rainwater caused logjams on major thoroughfares while some low-lying areas were submerged for hours.
At a ‘rain emergency’ meeting, the KMC, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB), the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB), deputy commissioners of all districts, the fire department and municipal services director were directed to make arrangements in their respective departments.
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