Operations at the Delhi airport came to a halt due to the dust storm. At least 40 flights were diverted and more than 24 delayed, an official said.
A dust storm and squalls with a wind speed of up to 109 kmph battered Delhi and neighbouring areas today, killing two persons and injuring 18 others, and throwing flight, rail and metro operations out of gear. Officials said two squalls whipped through the national capital. One clocking 109 kmph hit the Safdarjung area at 4:44 pm and continued till 4:46 pm. The other gusting to 96 kmph battered the Palam area at 4:33 pm. The strong winds knocked down nearly 200 trees in the city. Incidents of wall collapse were reported from Najafgarh, Transit Camp, Nehru Place, Mohan Garden in Uttam Nagar and Raj Nagar in Palam, said a senior officer of the Delhi Fire Service. Somvati Sinha (56) died after a tree got uprooted and fell on her in east Delhi’s Pandav Nagar during the storm, the police said.
Sinha suffered severe head injuries and was rushed to a hospital, where she was declared brought dead, they added. In another incident, Rohit (19) died after cement sheets and bricks fell on him from the third floor of a house in southeast Delhi’s Jaitpur. Rohit was injured and rushed to Apollo Hospital, where he succumbed to the wounds. There were reports of uprooting of trees from more than 12 areas in south Delhi.
In Jaitpur, a person was buried in the debris following a wall collapse, municipal authorities said. The sky turned dark grey around 4:30 pm. Gusty winds and rain lashed the national capital, causing the temperature to drop to 25.2 degrees Celsius from the day’s maximum of 40.6 degrees Celsius, a MeT official said. Power lines snapped in a number of areas due to uprooting of trees, resulting in outages. Power supply was disrupted in parts of Najafgarh, Jafarabad, Vasant Kunj, Seelampur and Shahstri Park, a BSES spokesperson said. Traffic in many areas moved at a snail’s pace due to the reduced visibility.
The inclement weather interrupted the launch of a 140 kWp rooftop solar plant at IP Extension attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Operations at the Delhi airport came to a halt due to the dust storm. At least 40 flights were diverted and more than 24 delayed, an official said. Metro operations were affected at a number of stations on the Violet and Blue lines after trees fell on overhead electricity (OHE) wires. The Northern Railways said the train movement was disrupted on the section between the Hazrat Nizamuddin and Palwal stations due to tree felling. A few passenger and freight trains were held up for around 25 minutes because of the disruption. The Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express was also stopped near Sonepat due to uprooting of trees.
According to MeT department officials, the Safdarjung Observatory gauged 8.3 mm of rainfall. The Palam, Aya Nagar and Lodhi Road areas recorded 0.8, 6.4 and 2.1 mm of precipitation. The weatherman forecast partly cloudy skies and light rainfall tomorrow. BSES’ operations and maintenance teams were on a high-alert to deal with any contingency, he said. “In most cases, the teams were able to restore supply ‘quickly’ but in some instances, it took a little longer than usual due to various factors,” he said.
No reports of major disruption in supply were available from the Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) that caters to North and North West Delhi. There were minor disruptions in the Bawana and Wazirpur areas, but power supply was restored there, the TPDDL said. K Sathi Devi, the head of the National Weather Forecasting Centre, said two western disturbances had led to the inclement weather. “A cloud mass passed over Delhi. The extreme weather not only affected Delhi; Panipat, Jhajjar, Rohtak, Jind in Haryana and parts of Uttar Pradesh,” said G P Sharma, President (Meteorology) Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency.
The winds continued to gust to 70 kmph even after the cloud mass passed over Delhi. Sharma and Devi warned of similar weather conditions tomorrow. The India Meteorological Department yesterday predicted that Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh would witness thunderstorm accompanied by squall. Its forecast said parts of Rajasthan might also see dust storm.
Thunderstorm over the northern hill-states and its effect in the plains is due to a western disturbance, the IMD said. “Thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds are also very likely at isolated places over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh, Vidharbha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Telangana, north coastal Andhra Pradesh, south interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Kerala,” the IMD said in an advisory said.