Rain sparks traffic jams, power outages
KARACHI, Feb 4: Rain began lashing the city early Monday morning, piling misery upon millions of Karachiites as power supply in many parts of the city went off soon after the precipitation, and snarl-ups crippled traffic on many roads in the evening.
The first rain spell started a little after midnight in different parts of the city, causing the temperature to fall to the minimum of 17.5 degrees centigrade, and continued with small intervals into the evening.
An eyewitness said he saw hailstones also fall during the rain.
Nonetheless, the Pakistan Meteorological Department came up with good news, at least for the civic bodies, and said the current weather system was now weakening and would be over by Tuesday morning.
Attendance at workplaces and educational institutions, including government and private schools, was affected by the early showers that inundated portions of many arteries and roads, including Sharea Faisal, I.I. Chundrigar Road, M. A. Jinnah Road, Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, Korangi Road, Shaheed-i-Millat Expressway, Karimabad Road and Jehangir Road.
The rain also submerged several portions of roads and streets in the Defence Housing Authority and Clifton, where civic agencies were seen draining out stagnant rainwater.
There were puddles of muddy water and sewage in many low-lying localities, where people placed bricks and stones to walk on.
The city chief weatherman, Muhammed Tauseef Alam, said the westerly low-pressure system approaching from Iran caused light rains in parts of the province as well as in Karachi.
According to the Met office, parts of the city received over 5mm of rainfall before dawn and an equal amount before the dusk. Other parts received less than 3.5mm of rainfall.
Met officials said the city would remain partly cloudy with chances of a drizzle on Tuesday. The minimum temperature would range between 13 and 15 degrees centigrade. Humidity, or the amount of water in the air, was 55 per cent, they said.
Traffic remained choked on I. I. Chundrigar Road, M. A. Jinnah Road and Sharea Faisal owing to the accumulation of rainwater and thousands of vehicles moved bumper-to-bumper at a snail’s place. Similar was the situation on Dr Ziauddin Road, Sharah-i-Liaquat, M. R. Kiyani Road, Mohammad Bin Qasim Road, Korangi Road, Shaheed-i-Millat Expressway, Karimabad, Jehangir Road, Lasbela, Gulshan-i-Iqbal, Rashid Minhas Road, Sohrab Goth and North Karachi.
The traffic police disappeared from the streets, leaving the people to fend for themselves.
While a majority of the people suffered due to the rains, many others thronged spots of recreations, including the city beaches.
Similarly, small eateries and roadside vendors offering traditional fried snacks such as samosa, pakora and kachori were crowded and the sellers did a brisk trade.
With the first few drops of rain, the Karachi Electric Supply Company turned off power supply to most parts of the city.
“We only realised that it was raining after the power went out in the middle of the night. We rarely experience power failures in our area but since then power supply has been playing hide-and-seek,” said Mumtaz Khan, a woman resident of Defence Phase-I.
“Power supply in our area was shut down as soon as it started to rain at around 2am, but it hasn’t returned even after rain stopped,” said Azhar Hussain from Gulshan Block 2. “The street behind ours has power supply. I have tried complaining to ‘118’, but no one attends that number,” he said.“KESC officials for some reason are more receptive on Twitter, but everyone cannot access the internet when they are out of electricity,” said Ms Farooqui from Clifton.
“We have been experiencing fluctuations and outages for 10 minutes to half an hour off and on even though it stopped raining hours ago,” said Jaffar Iqbal from Defence Phase-V.
Similar complaints were received from residents of Gulistan-i-Jauhar, Nazimabad, Golimar, Federal B Area, Bahadurabad, Malir, PECHS and Clifton.
No KESC spokesman was available for comment.