Several parts of north India saw torrential rains on Sunday, with 18 people killed in landslides and other incidents related to rainfall. Many roads and residential areas were submerged in knee-deep water, with the civic system giving in due to record rains.
Vehicles floating like paper boats on inundated roads, temples submerged on the banks of swollen rivers, land cave-ins and muddy waters gushing into residential areas — terrifying images of the chaos unleashed by the rains were shared online by people in Delhi, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
In Delhi, authorities have cautioned over rising water levels of the Yamuna river. Dlehi recorded its highest rainfall in a single day in July since 1982. Heavy downpour warnings have been issued for certain areas of Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir
Around 17 trains have been cancelled by the Northern Railways and 12 others have been diverted. Due to waterlogging, traffic has been suspended at four locations. Five people were killed in three separated incidents of landslides in Himachal Pradesh, where 10 districts are on a red alert for extremely heavy rains. According to the Himachal Pradesh emergency operation centre, 14 major landslides and 13 flash floods have been reported in the last 36 hours; over 700 roads have been closed.
Meanwhile, three pilgrims drowned in the Ganga in neighbouring Uttarakhand after their jeep fell into the river near Gular on the Badrinath-Rishikesh highway.
In Jammu and Kashmir, two people were killed in a landslide in Doda district, in Ladakh’s Kargil district, a vehicle got crushed under a boulder that rolled down a hillock along the Leh-Srinagar national highway. A man lost his life in the incident. A red alert has been issued for Kathua and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir, along with lower catchment areas, with reports coming in that rivers and streams were flowing above the danger mark.
There were also reports of shops being swept away in Manali and vehicles being washed away in flash floods in Kullu, Kinnaur and Chamba.
The situation remained dire in several parts of Punjab and Haryana, where waterlogging and flooding in low-lying areas prompted authorities to swing into action and help people stranded in the worst-hit places.
Meanwhile, in Gurugram, heavy rainfall led to traffic congestion and severe waterlogging in several areas; the administration has advised corporate houses to implement work from home on Monday and schools to declare a holiday.
The Delhi government has announced a closure of all schools on Monday in response to heavy rains; it also cancelled the Sunday leave of government officials, instructing them to be present and on duty in the field. Due to waterlogging, vehicles got stuck and underpasses were flooded; people had to wade through inundated roads.
In Uttar Pradesh, a 10-year-old girl died on Sunday, when a tree branch fell on the tin shed of her house in Kaushambi district after heavy rains. A woman and her six-year-old daughter were killed after the roof of their house collapsed on account of heavy rains. Two people were killed and three injured in separate incidents of lightning strike in Ballia on Saturday.
A few areas received heavy to very heavy rainfall in Rajasthan, where moderate to heavy rainfall occurred in many areas.
The IMD said the cumulative rainfall in the monsoon season has reached 243.2 mm, which is two per cent above the normal of 239.1 mm. Also, bountiful rains in many parts of India in the first eight days of July have bridged the rainfall deficit for the entire country.
However, large-scale regional variations in rainfall were also observed. North India has witnessed 59 per cent excess rainfall (199.7 mm against a normal of 125.5 per cent), while the eastern and northeastern region has recorded a deficiency of 17 per cent (375.3 mm against a normal of 454 mm), the latest IMD data showed.
In South India, the rainfall deficiency has reduced from 45 per cent to 23 per cent. While Central India, where a large number of farmers rely on monsoonal rains, has recorded 264.9 mm rainfall against a normal of 255.1 mm, which is an excess of four per cent.
An interaction between monsoonal winds and a western disturbance is leading to an intense spell of rainfall over northwest India, including Delhi, which experienced the season’s first “very heavy” rainfall, according to the IMD.