Delhi rain: Thunderstorm brings relief from heatwave

Delhi rain: Thunderstorm brings relief from heatwave
Delhi rain: Thunderstorm brings relief from heatwave

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - NEW DELHI — A thunderstorm in India's capital, Delhi, led to a steep drop in sizzling temperatures and caused power blackouts in several areas on Monday morning.

Heavy rains also disrupted flights at Delhi International Airport and caused traffic jams in the city.

Delhi and other parts of northern India have been facing intense heatwaves since March.

Earlier this month, temperatures hit a record 49.2C (120.5F) in some parts of the capital.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday that it expected "fairly widespread rainfall activity" over Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh states this week. The cause, it added, was a western disturbance - a storm originating in the Mediterranean region - and a cyclonic circulation associated with it.

On Monday, Delhi and neighboring areas reported heavy rains and winds up to 70km/h (43.4mph).

The IMD said that surface temperature in Delhi fell 11 degrees - from 29C to 18C - between 5.40 am and 7 am on Monday.

This was the lowest temperature the city has witnessed this month. Parts of the capital and surrounding areas had also received light rainfall over the weekend.

Summer began early this year in northern India as successive heatwaves threw millions of lives and livelihoods out of gear.

While heatwaves are common in India during May and June, they began in March this time, with average maximum temperatures hitting record highs.

Delhi had received only four to five thunderstorms between March and May against the usual 12-14, the IMD said.

Many Delhi residents took to social media to share their joy over the long-awaited rain.

Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist at private weather forecaster Skymet Weather Services, said on Twitter that northern India is unlikely to see another heatwave soon.

But parts of Delhi also reported traffic disruptions due to flooding and trees being uprooted.

The IMD warned of reduced visibility and damage to vulnerable structures due to the thunderstorm.

Several passengers were reportedly stranded at Delhi airport after the storm affected flight operations.

Around 60 flights were delayed due to bad weather and related issues while a few were canceled, the airport's website said. — BBC

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