At least 24 people were killed in Himachal Pradesh and three people died in Punjab in rain-related incidents on Sunday as the two states received rainfall over ten times more than normal, officials said.
Recording its wettest day this monsoon, Punjab received rainfall 1,300 per cent above normal on Sunday and Himachal Pradesh recorded 1,064 per cent surplus rain. According to IMD, heavy rainfall lashed the two northern states due to a low pressure system along their borders.
“Heavy rainfall will continue till Monday evening over Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi due to the strong interaction between the prevailing low pressure system and the incoming westerlies. However, the system is likely to weaken by forenoon on Monday and a gradual reduction in rainfall is expected over north India,” an official at IMD, Pune, said.
Why the heavy rain could be bad news
Two days of incessant rainfall, mainly over deficient areas of Uttarakhand, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana and Punjab, has at least normalised the season’s rain over Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. The heavy rainfall over the desert state of Rajasthan and hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, which do not fall under the intense rainfall receiving category, can, however, lead to a catastrophe. Besides, the rainwater will be of little use given the high rate of run-off.
In Himachal Pradesh, nine people died in Shimla, five in Solan, two each in Kullu, Sirmaur, Solan and Chamba and one each in Una and Lahaul-Spiti districts. An official said the total loss to the state property amounted to 490 crore.
Officials said teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been called in Kangra’s Nurpur and Solan’s Nalagarh subdivisions.
In Punjab, three members of a family, including a nine-year old boy, died after the roof of their home collapsed during incessant rain at Khanna in Ludhiana district on Saturday.
The family was reportedly having dinner when lightning struck and the roof collapsed. Those killed have been identified as Surjit Singh (37), his wife Balwinder Kaur (35) and their son Gurpreet Singh (9). The couple’s daughter Simranjeet Kaur (11) had a miraculous survival.
In Punjab, a medium flood alert has been issued in 250 villages of eight districts following the heavy rainfall. The situation is especially grim in districts along river Sutlej in which 2.40 lakh cusecs water was released on Sunday from Ropar Head Works. The water level of three major dams in the state is increasing fast and Bhakra Dam is full to its capacity.
The Army has been requested to be on standby and orders have been issued to close schools in the affected areas of some districts.
The eight districts where an alert has been sounded include Ropar, Nawanshahr, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Tarn Taran, Moga and Ferozpur.
Punjab, which was experiencing a rain deficit this monsoon, became a rain surplus state after Sunday’s rainfall.
Heavy rainfall was also reported from parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Haryana. The east coast, too, is experiencing rain fury, with the Met department warning of continuous heavy showers over parts of Southern Gangetic West Bengal.
“This system will cause fairly widespread rains over Bihar, Jharkhand, north Odhisha till August 21,” the official stated.
Rainfall this month has seen fairly good distribution and the all-India rainfall for the season so far is two per cent above the normal mark. In August alone, the country has recorded 34.8 per cent surplus rain.
WITH PTI INPUTS
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