A roof-collapse triggered by an overnight thunderstorm killed a toddler in Delhi as pre-monsoon showers heaped misery on the people across north India, disrupting flights, flooding airports and leaving Prime Minister Narendra Modi stranded at the Jaipur airport for more than an hour.
Though the showers brought down temperatures that had touched a blistering 50 degrees Celsius in some parts of north India, the rains also left a trail a death and destruction. At least five people have been killed in Uttarakhand in the past 48 hours due to landslides triggered by heavy rains.
In Delhi, a two-and-half-year-old child died in the Motia Khan area after the tin roof of a house fell on the sleeping people, police said. Details were not immediately available.
Several vehicles were damaged when a wall of a post office collapsed in Fatehpuri area in Chandni Chowk.
The weatherman warned of “thunderstorm with squall” due to the bad weather, attributed to the twin effects of moisture-laden winds from Gujarat mixing with easterly winds from the Bay of Bengal.
“This usually doesn’t happen,” said India Meteorological Department director BP Yadav.
Bad weather in Delhi forced the diversion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flight to Jaipur where he was forced to spend more than an hour on the tarmac before the plane finally landed in Delhi past midnight.
Airport officials said at least 40 Delhi-bound flights were diverted till 2 am.
Nearly 300 passengers on board a United Airlines flight from Newark to Delhi were forced to spend the night inside the plane after it was diverted to Mumbai due to bad weather in the national capital.
An overnight storm also damaged several small aircraft at the Amritsar airport and flooded the departure lounge, officials said.
In the National Capital Region, people woke up to a pleasant morning but were soon struggling to reach their workplace as the rains uprooted trees at many places, blocking key roads and causing massive traffic snarls.
The Safdarjung observatory recorded 0.4 mm rainfall till 8.30 am, and areas under Palam, Ridge and Aaya Nagar recorded 3.2 mm, 0.4 mm and 3 mm rainfall, said a Met department official.
Traffic snarls were reported on the Delhi Gurgaon Expressway, the old Delhi Gurgaon road, Sector 22/23 road, Palam Vihar, and in many parts of old Gurgaon.
Power outages were also reported in several areas of both old and new Gurgaon.
The weather office said a thunderstorm accompanied by a squall is likely in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
Weather officials also warned of heavy rains in the hill districts of Champavat, Almora, Nainital, Tehri and Pauri in Uttarakhand in the next 24 hours.
A series of cloudbursts in Tehri and Uttarkashi districts on Saturday claimed six lives, besides damaging a large number of houses and burying alive approximately 100 cattle.
(With agency inputs)