Darkness at noon: Strong winds, rain lash tricity
Gusty winds peaking at 75kmph on Wednesday followed by 1.2mm rain caused by Western disturbances left a trail of destruction in the tricity and its surrounding areas on Wednesday afternoon, bringing down trees and electricity poles, damaging cars and causing power breakdown in many areas. A few cases of fire and injuries were reported in Mohali, but none of them were serious.
Seven to eight cases of accidents were reported as cars skidded off roads, leaving drivers with minor injuries. Manjit Singh, senior medical officer, Mohali Civil Hospital, said the injured were discharged after first aid.
In Chandigarh, falling trees damaged cars in Shastri Market, Sector 22, and blocked roads, causing traffic jams in Sector 24. About 10 trees were uprooted in both the sectors.
Power supply was disrupted for more than one hour in the tricity, with Panchkula reporting outages of more than three hours. Many sectors in Chandigarh, including 39, 40, 41, 42, 56 and village Palsora, were affected.
Power was restored quickly where only power cables had snapped, UT superintending engineer MP Singh said. The department, which receives about 300 complaints a day, had more an 800 distress calls once the storm hit at around 2.30 pm. Several traffic signals were also on the blink.
According to Uttar Haryana Bijli Vittran Nigam (UHBVN) officials, breakdown at supply feeders caused outages in several sectors of Panchkula. UHBVN executive engineer Arvind Chaudhary, however, said , “Following windstorm, the feeders supplying electricity developed some fault. The power supply was resumed in almost all the sectors by 6.30pm and everything was under control.”
About 1.2 mm of rainfall was recorded in the two-and-a-half hour stormy spell, which peaked at about 3 pm, leading to a temperature drop of almost five degrees to 31.4 degrees C from 36.2 degrees C recorded at about the same time yesterday.
Although thunderstorms can push wind speeds over 100km/h, 75 kmph is uncharacteristically high for the month of May. “Though IMD doesn’t maintain an official record for wind speed, it didn’t cross 42 knots (75 kmph) last May,” says Surender Paul, in charge of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Chandigarh.
The stormy conditions, caused by Western disturbances, will persist for two to three days. “The system is set to stay for three days. Thunder and rainfall are expected but it will be light as these disturbances won’t last longer than a few hours,” said an IMD official.
Clear conditions are being predicted next week after a few cloudy days. According to IMD officials temperatures will rise sharply and humidity levels will go down once the clouds clear.
(Inputs from Rajanbir Singh, Hillary Victor and Yuvraj Kaushal)