In a first, the met office forecasts were accurate to the last minute and the heavens finally opened above Karachi.
The port city received an average of 20mm of rainfall on Thursday, the first of the five-day monsoon spell.
The highest amount of rain was recorded in Landhi with 48.5mm, while the lowest was recorded in Nazimabad at 10.6mm. In the Airport area, the rainfall was recorded at 26mm, 17mm on University Road, 15mm in Gulshan-e-Hadeed and 12mm in North Karachi, said Abdul Rasheed, the focal person of the Pakistan Meteorological Department.
A variation of low- and high-intensity showers will continue till Monday, he added. The met office also forecasted scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall in lower parts of Sindh, such as Karachi, Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas divisions. Thunderstorms are likely to hit the coastal belt.
Read: Parts of Karachi plunge into darkness as city receives first monsoon rain
Are we ready?
Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui claimed they have taken all measure to overcome the situation. “The rain drains have been cleaned for the first time in the history of the city,” he claimed.
Siddiqui admitted it becomes harder for city residents to enjoy the monsoons as roads become flooded and there is hardly any water supply. If the cleaning of storm water drains continues throughout the year then people can enjoy the rains, he said.
Historically, the city is not known to receive very heavy rainfalls but, this time, monsoons will be experienced in lower Sindh, said a met office official, Abdul Qayoom Bhutto. Officials in the met office fear that the heavy rains can collapse the hurried measures undertaken by the city administration. “Rainfall of up to 40mm can create a mess for the government.”
KE feeders trip
The thunderstorm that started at around 6:30pm on Thursday caused 92 of K-Electric’s 1,450 feeders to trip. Parts of DHA, Clifton, Korangi, Federal B Area, PIB Colony, Soldier Bazaar, Saddar, Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Liaquatabad, Garden, New Karachi, North Nazimabad, Nazimabad, Site, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Landhi, Shah Faisal and Malir plunged into darkness.
KE spokesperson Usama Qureshi said they shut down power supply as it is difficult to work on any installations during the rain. “We are waiting for the drainage of rainwater and power will be restored in the entire city in three to four hours,” he said at around 7pm on Thursday.
The hour-long heavy showers did, however, lead to massive traffic jams on MA Jinnah Road, Sharae Faisal, Tariq Road, University Road, etc. According to banker Mahnaz Shafiq, there was a massive traffic jam on II Chundrigar Road. “No rickshaw driver was ready to take me to even Sharae Faisal,” she said. Sanjida, a resident of Gulistan-e-Jauhar Block 12, had to turn back when the thunderstorm clouds rolled over.
Read: Corruption and incompetence: Despite flood and rains, tail-end farmers face water shortage
Traffic DIG Amir Ahmed Shaikh claimed that all the SPs and traffic staff are present and alert in the city. “Due to rainwater on several roads — Sharae Faisal has three-foot-deep water near Nursery — traffic flow is being hampered,” he said, adding that there was a lot of water accumulated on Tipu Sultan Road as well. “We are coordinating with KMC and have asked them to remove rainwater and defected cars from the roads to ensure proper flow,” he said. According to Civil Aviation Karachi, only PIA’s flight PK-370 for Islamabad was delayed.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2015.