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Delhi rains: T3 flooded,flights hit

In a first for Delhi,117 mm rainfall was recorded in just one hour near the IGI airport.

Written by Dipankar Ghose | New Delhi |
September 16, 2011 1:37:43 am

For Delhiites,Friday morning started like Thursday ended – wet,wet,wet.

Starting 8 a.m.,dark clouds again descended on Delhi and rain started pouring,threatening to break Thursday’s record. It continued for 2 hours straight and then turned into a drizzle.

on Thursday,in a first for Delhi,117 mm rainfall was recorded in just one hour near the IGI airport area. The sudden downpour hit flight movement. Drains outside the T3 terminal overflowed,flooding the arrival area.

Airport authorities imposed a shutdown passenger movement in the domestic arrival lounge and diverted travellers through the international side of T3. Passengers had to walk through water,many with shoes in hand.

“When rainfall is as high as 117 mm in just one hour,we call it a cloudburst. This heavy deluge was witnessed in areas around the airport like Vasant Kunj and Dwarka,” said Dr R K Jenamani,Director-in-charge of the Met Department at IGI Airport.

The rain broke records in the Meteorological department’s observatory at the airport set up in January 1,1952.

Since all recorded observation of rainfall is for a 24-hour period,the last it poured over the airport was 190.2 mm on September 16,1963,recorded over 24 hours.

Jet Airways flight from Jodhpur,9W-2632,was asked to make a go around at 2.49 pm,but had to be diverted to Jaipur at 3.15 pm. Air India’s flight from Chicago,AI-126,was made to go around at 3.12 pm. Three domestic flights,from Kolkata,Amritsar and Srinagar were also made to go around between 2.22 and 3.10 pm.

A spokesperson for airport operator,Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL),said “there was excess water spilling into the domestic arrival area of T3. As a precaution,incoming domestic passengers were diverted to the international area of T3. No flight has been delayed due to this diversion.”

To avoid mixing domestic passengers with international travellers,an artificial barrier was created. Customs and CISF officials had to ensure no rush of passengers took place in the international area. Gates 7 and 8 were shut down; all passengers had to exit through the international gates.

The area outside the terminal was flooded too,including the parking lot. Vehicular movement outside the terminal was completely stopped. The artificial roof outside the terminal also leaked during the downpour,creating more inconvenience for passengers,an airport source said.

The DIAL spokesperson said the airside operations were normal,and all flights were landing and taking off normally,subject to any weather-related delays.

As the drains overflowed,access to Airport Express metro station was shut for three hours as the underground station was submerged. A spokesperson of Reliance Infrastructure-led Delhi Airport Metro Express Private Limited,that operates the airport metro,said there was no problem with regard to running of trains,“but access had to be denied to passengers from the airport station as it was under water after the rains”.

The newly constructed Northern Access road — the tunnel road from under Runway 28 that connects Palam Airport to T3 — was also completely submerged .

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