Brace for moderate-to-heavy rainfall, traffic chaos in Delhi

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 08, 2016 00:42 IST
A view of a waterlogged road after showers at Geeta Colony Road in New Delhi. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Moderate-to-heavy rainfall forecast across Delhi over the next 48 hours revived fears of traffic mayhem, flooded roads and a nightmare for commuters who bore the brunt of shoddy infrastructure buckling under showers several times this monsoon.

The India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) monsoon forecast said Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh could see a downpour on Monday and Tuesday with the southern and western parts of the Capital predicted to receive more rainfall.

This is bad news for residents in the national capital region, many of whom waded through waist-deep water and got stuck in miles-long traffic snarls when heavy showers deluged vast swathes of Delhi and Gurgaon two weeks ago.

The worst hit in the weather-induced havoc was Gurgaon, where thousands were stranded without food or water and a seven-hour-long monster traffic jam saw authorities ask commuters to avoid the area.

Cars and trucks, ambulances and school buses backed up for up to 24 hours in a hair-pulling drive home. Many abandoned their cars and waded to drier areas through knee-deep water.

The frenzied scenes mirrored a similar nightmare in the second week of July, when heavy downpour deluged many parts of south and west Delhi.

In both cases, the chaos was triggered by showers choking storm-water drains that flooded streets, submerging vehicles and throwing normal life out of gear.

For the mess, experts blamed a rush to build apartments, malls and office complexes in the national capital region that ensured ponds, embankments and water channels draining the monsoon runoff vanished in the last three decades.

But with politicians trading blame and little progress on cleaning of the ageing drains or hacking off encroachments, the city appeared ill-equipped to handle another spell of heavy rain.

The monsoon this year is expected to bring more than normal rain to most parts of northwest India, including Delhi till September, when the season ends. August is expected to be wetter than usual.

Delhi has received 396.8 mm of rain --- 13% more than normal -- till August 7 but the distribution has been uneven. South Delhi has seen 49% more rain than usual while west Delhi got 30% more showers.

East and northeast Delhi, however, have seen little rain. The deficit in east Delhi is 61% and that in northeast Delhi is 37%. Data show areas such as the Indira Gandhi International Airport in southwest Delhi and Ayanagar in south Delhi have received the most rain this year.

On July 29, the Safdarjung observatory in central Delhi received 4.2 mm of rain, the IGI airport area received 63.4 mm.

After two successive droughts in the past two years, India has witnessed a normal monsoon in most parts of the country.

This is because a weather phenomenon that dries up rain in the subcontinent known as the El Niño – a warm ocean current along the coast of Ecuador and Peru – has weakened this year.

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