Lead to traffic snarls, flights delayed and diverted, streets water-logged

The bright sunny sky was suddenly enveloped by ominous black clouds around 4-45 p.m. on Tuesday before a torrent of rain accompanied by thunder, lightning and strong winds lashed the Capital for about an hour in the evening.

“The wind speed was measured at 80 km per hour and the temperature dipped by 10 degrees Celsius within a short span of time,” said India Metrological Director B. P. Yadav.

The storm threw the city into complete darkness, forcing vehicles to switch on their headlights. Several trees fell on Pyare Lal Road, Uttam Nagar, Vikaspuri and Khyber Pass.

The freak weather also resulted in traffic snarls in almost all parts of the city with people held up at the Dhaula Kuan underpass and the Chirag Delhi flyover due to water-logging. Traffic jams were reported at Anand Parbhat Road, Gulabi Bagh Road, Pusa Road and Sarita Vihar among many other areas.

“I set off on my bike from South Extension towards Connaught Place at 5 p.m. but was stuck in traffic till about 8 p.m.,” said Mr. Saigal, an advertisement executive.

Flights at Delhi airport were also affected with the runways being closed for about an hour. Some flights were delayed by more than three hours. Flights were also diverted to cities like Jaipur, Udaipur and Lucknow.

The fire department received around 40 distress calls within a few hours, but no casualties were reported. “We received complaints of small sparks going off in street lights and electric poles because of the lighting but nothing major.”

The city's residents had been experiencing soaring temperatures for several days now with the maximum temperature reaching 37.8 degrees Celsiuson Tuesday before the storm.

According to the weatherman, there was nothing unusual about the storm. “It is very common during April to witness such storms because of western disturbances. It is not just Delhi, but most of the North is usually subject to such storms,” said Mr. B.P Yadav

However, there was something special about this particular storm. “Such storms are usually defined by lightning, thunder and heavy winds but not a lot of rain. Tuesday's storm, however, had significant rainfall because of moisture formation over the Bay of Bengal,” added Mr. Yadav.

A precursor to the storm could be seen as early as 7-30 a.m. in the form of a small drizzle accompanied by thunder and lightning. “The total rainfall recorded from 8-30 a.m. to 8-30 p.m. was 5.0 mm.” said the IMD duty officer.

A thunderstorm or light rain with partly cloudy skies have been forecast for Wednesday, with the maximum temperature expected to be 30 degrees Celsius and minimum of about 22 degrees Celsius.

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