Southwest monsoon covers north India, Delhi receives its first monsoonal showers

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New Delhi, Jul 13 (PTI) The much-awaited Southwest Monsoon finally covered the entire country on Tuesday after a delay of five days with parts of north India, including Delhi, which had been facing searing heat due to the absence of rains, receiving heavy showers.

The Southwest Monsoon usually covers the entire country on July 8. The earlier normal date for the monsoon to cover the country was July 15.

This year, the monsoon covered its last outposts --- Jaisalmer and Ganganagar in Rajasthan on July 12. Usually, monsoon covers these two districts on July 8, nearly nine days after it hits Delhi.

Delhi's wait for monsoon ended after a spell of rains drenched parts of the city, with weather officials saying the onset has been over two weeks behind the schedule, making it the most delayed in 19 years.

Parts of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan were lashed by rains.

In Himachal Pradesh, rescue operations are underway in Kangra district's Boh valley following a landslide in which one person died and nine others are still feared trapped beneath the debris.

A team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) rescued four people on Monday and efforts are being made to pull others out of the rubble, an official said on Tuesday.

Heavy showers have crippled the normal life in the hilly state and triggered a flood-like situation in several districts.

Delhiites faced a hard time commuting on roads as waterlogging due to heavy rains led to traffic congestion causing snaking lines of vehicles on several busy road stretches.

Over the last one month, the weather department struggled to accurately predict when the monsoon will reach the capital and came under sharp criticism when the wind system repetitively gave Delhi a miss despite favourable conditions.

On Tuesday, when the monsoon finally embraced the national capital, the Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative figures for the city, recorded 28.1 mm rainfall between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm.

Overall, Delhi has so far received 65 per cent less rainfall than normal, putting it in the category of 'large deficient' states.

In Kerala, rains continued to batter many parts of the state under the influence of the Southwest monsoon with the weatherman issuing an Orange alert for the hilly Idukki district and a Yellow alert for 11 other districts.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a Yellow alert for Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts for Tuesday.

In Madhya Pradesh, three persons, including a minor girl, were killed and two others received injuries in lightning strikes on Monday in Datia and Sheopur districts, officials said.

Earlier, 12 people died and 11 were injured in similar incidents in different parts of the state over the previous one day.

Temperatures hovered below normal limits in Haryana and Punjab after heavy rains lashed parts of the region.

According to the Meteorological (MeT) Department, several places in Haryana received rains while parts of Punjab, including Amritsar and Patiala, received light showers.

Karnal in Haryana received a downpour (190 mm) during the day while Hisar, Rohtak, Gurgaon and Bhiwani also received rains.

Uttar Pradesh received light to moderate rains along with thundershowers at isolated places, the MeT Department said.

Rainfall occurred in Lalitpur, Bareilly, Kushinagar, Jhansi, Hathras, Bulandshahar, Kannauj, Sant Kabir Nagar, Lucknow, Siddharth Nagar, Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi, Sambhal and Aligarh.

Fatehgarh was the hottest place in the state, where mercury touched to 39.7 degrees Celsius.

According to the IMD, under the influence of these conditions, scattered to widespread rainfall is very likely over parts of northwest India during the next three days and isolated heavy to very rainfall is very likely over Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh during the next five days; over Himachal Pradesh on July 14 and 17. PTI TEAM KJ

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