New Delhi, Aug 19 (PTI) Incessant rains pummeled the national capital on Wednesday, submerging low-lying areas in waist-deep water and bringing traffic on key roads to a virtual halt.
Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the regional forecasting centre of the India Meteorological Department, said Delhi recorded moderate rains till 5:30 pm. More rains are likely in the next 24 hours, he said.
The Ayanagar weather station recorded 66 mm rainfall in just nine hours -- from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. On an average, the city gauges 11.3 mm rainfall on August 19 every year.
The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative figures for the city, recorded 32 mm rains. The Palam, Lodhi Road, and Ridge weather stations gauged 49.4 mm, 25.1 mm, and 42.7 mm precipitation respectively during the period.
Rainfall recorded below 15 mm is considered light, between 15 and 64.5 mm is moderate and above 64.5 mm is heavy.
Earlier at 10.05 am, the India Meteorological Department issued an alert for heavy rains in the national capital.
The downpour may lead to 'major traffic disruption' and there is an 'increased chance' of road accidents, it warned.
Just a few hours of rains flooded many streets, turning them into small rivers, as traffic came to a standstill at key stretches. Public parks in many residential areas resembled swimming pools.
Commuters remained stuck for hours on water-logged roads. Pictures and videos of vehicles and people wading through waist-deep water were widely shared on social media.
The rains also crippled electricity supply in many areas.
Civic bodies reported incidents of uprooting of trees in a few areas due to the rains. A boundary wall of a school in Saket collapsed, damaging several vehicles parked alongside it. The Delhi Traffic Police remained busy clearing traffic at ITO, Purana Qila, Vinod Nagar, Surajmal Marg, Sarai Kale Khan, Dhaula Kuan, Bhairon Road, near Indraprastha Park, Sultanpur and Munrika metro stations, Civil Line police station, Mathura Road, Rani Jhansi road and several other places.
Similar scenes were witnessed across the national capital on August 13, when the city witnessed the heaviest spell of rains this monsoon season, with the Ayanagar weather station recording 99.2 rainfall in just a few hours. Mahesh Palawat of Skymet Weather, a private forecasting agency, said climate change had led to a change in rain pattern. 'Earlier, we used to witness continuous light rains over two-three days. Nowadays, the same quantum of rainfall occurs in just 2-3 hours. These extreme events have been taking place across the tropical region since last 10 years,' he said.
Experts said the flooding was a result of bad urban planning.
'Flooding in Indian cities is largely a product of bad urban planning. In Delhi, the Yamuna floodplains have been encroached upon obstructing the natural water flow. Other issues include deforestation, poor drainage system and lack of integrated urban planning,' Anjal Prakash, research director, Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, said. Srivastava said the axis of monsoon will remain close to the national capital till Thursday. Therefore, more rains are likely.
Southwesterly winds from the Arabian Sea and southeasterly winds from the Bay of Bengal are also feeding moisture to the region, he said.
The downpour also reduced the rain deficiency in the capital -- from 13 per cent on Monday to 11 per cent on Wednesday.
The Safdarjung Observatory has recorded 147.4 mm rainfall against the normal of 165.2 mm in August so far. Overall, it has recorded 466 mm rainfall, six per cent more than the normal of 441.3 mm since June 1 when the monsoon season starts. PTI GVS TDS TDS