NEW DELHI: A nine-hour deluge on Saturday flooded city roads and underpasses, stalled traffic for hours and caused severe damage with walls collapsing and trees toppling over.
It also claimed the life of a woman in a house collapse in Karol Bagh.
It was the heaviest downpour of the season and highest for a July day in 20 years. Between 8.30am and 5.30pm, the city’s base station of Safdarjung logged 126.1mm of rainfall.
According to IMD, rainfall of 133.4mm had been recorded on July 10, 2003. However, that day it had poured for 24 hours – not comparable to what happened on Saturday.
Only a few heavy rain days occur in the city annually with three such days recorded last year during monsoon. So far, this is highest rainfall the city has recorded since the arrival of monsoon was declared in Delhi on June 25 with 48.3mm rainfall, the highest 24-hour spell till Saturday.
All claims by government agencies of being fully prepared stood exposed as the day progressed. The usual spots which agencies claimed were no longer vulnerable to waterlogging were once again in the news. The Minto Bridge underpass had to be shut down and the Pul Prahladpur one got flooded. The Pragati Maidan tunnel had to be closed because of waterlogging.
Drains overflow, rainwater enters many shops in mkts
As arterial roads and internal colony lanes and bylanes began to get flooded, a traffic gridlock developed quickly. Erratic driving in order to get out of the logjam or avoid the fast accumulating water led to the situation getting aggravated.
Meanwhile, water entered many shops in Connaught Place, Sadar Bazar, Azad Market and other shopping centres as drains began to overflow, an annual occurrence.
The weather department, which had upgraded its orange alert to a red alert for Delhi on Saturday morning – issued for an extreme weather event – has issued a yellow alert for Sunday expecting high-intensity showers and moderate rain in some areas.
Rainfall between 115.6mm and 204.4mm is considered very heavy; between 64.5mm and 115.5mm heavy; and between 15.6mm and 64.4mm moderate. Since the declaration of monsoon, the city has recorded 164.1mm of rainfall while the long-period average for July is 209.7mm
“The monsoon trough line is active and there is a western disturbance which is highly active. These two weather systems are interacting over north-west India. Hence, there is rain over a widespread region, including western Himalayas, Haryana, Delhi, parts of Punjab and eastern Rajasthan,” said a scientist from IMD.
There has, of course, been a sharp drop in temperature. On Saturday, the maximum temperature was 28.7 degrees Celsius – eight notches below normal – against 35 degrees Celsius a day earlier. The minimum temperature was recorded at 25 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal, against 26.7 degrees Celsius a day earlier. According to the IMD, the maximum temperature on Sunday is likely to hover around 30 degrees.
Delhi’s air quality remained ‘satisfactory’. The AQI, on a scale of 0 to 500, was 71 against 77 a day earlier. The early warning system has forecast the air quality is likely to improve to the good category by Sunday.
Meanwhile, in Gurgaon, light to moderate rain lashed several parts of the city on Saturday with heavy showers in isolated areas, bringing relief from the sultry weather. According to the IMD, rain is likely to continue for the next three-four days. No major waterlogging was reported in the city and traffic movement remained largely unaffected on key arterial roads and the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway on Saturday.