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Delhi experiences highest July rainfall since 1982, floods and landslides claim 15 lives across India

Delhi experiences highest July rainfall since 1982, torrential rains claim 15 lives across India

In the wake of record-breaking rainfall on Sunday, July 9, 2023, several regions in north India are battling extreme weather conditions. The deluge has claimed 15 lives through landslides and other rain-related incidents. Numerous rivers, including the Yamuna in Delhi, have breached their banks.

An interaction between a western disturbance and monsoonal winds caused intense rainfall spells over northwest India, including Delhi, which experienced its first “very heavy” rainfall of the season, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Cities and towns across the region are underwater, with many roads and residential areas submerged in knee-deep water, stretching the civic system to its limit. Flash floods have also devastated roads in hilly regions, leaving people stranded.

The Northern Railways announced the cancellation of about 17 trains and the diversion of 12 others due to the waterlogged conditions, disrupting traffic in four locations.

IMD issued warnings for heavy downpours in areas of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Himachal Pradesh. Meanwhile, Delhi experienced its highest single-day July rainfall since 1982, prompting authorities to alert the public about the rising water level of the Yamuna.

In a 24-hour period ending at 8:30 LT Sunday, Delhi recorded 153 mm (6.02 inches) of rain (the monthly average for July is 195.8 mm / 7.7 inches), while Chandigarh and Ambala in Haryana reported record rainfall of 322.2 mm (12.68 inches) and 224.1 mm (8.82 inches), respectively.

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In Himachal Pradesh, where a red alert for extremely heavy rains has been issued for seven districts, five people lost their lives in three separate landslide incidents. Shimla district’s Kotgarh area witnessed a house collapse due to a landslide, which killed three family members. One fatality was reported in each of the Kullu and Chamba districts.

The Himachal Pradesh emergency operation center has reported 14 major landslides, 13 flash floods, and over 700 road closures in the last 36 hours.

In the neighboring state of Uttarakhand, three pilgrims drowned after their jeep fell into the Ganga River due to a landslide near Gular on the Rishikesh-Badrinath National Highway. The State Disaster Response Force and police officials reported 11 people were in the vehicle. While five have been rescued, search operations continue for three missing individuals, and three bodies have been recovered.

Two individuals died in Jammu and Kashmir following a landslide that hit a passenger bus in the Doda district. The bodies of two soldiers, who were swept away by flash floods in Poonch district, were also recovered.

Notwithstanding the disastrous conditions, the yatra to the Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath resumed on Sunday from Panjtarni and Sheshnag base camps, providing some relief in Srinagar. There were reports of snowfall in high-altitude areas of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, where a red alert for heavy rains was issued.

Hill states are facing flash floods that have left many stranded, with about 200 people marooned in Chandratal in Himachal Pradesh’s Lahaul and Spiti. Landslides and cave-ins due to floods have also rendered villages in mountainous regions in Uttarakhand inaccessible by road.

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Massive waterlogging and flooding in low-lying areas of Punjab and Haryana due to heavy monsoon rains prompted swift action from authorities in the worst-hit places. In Haryana, a flood control room has been set up, with three rivers – Markanda, Ghaggar, and Tangri – flowing close to the danger mark.

In Delhi, in response to the incessant rain, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal declared all schools will remain closed on Monday, July 10. All state-affiliated public and private schools and colleges will also be closed on July 10 and 11 in Himachal Pradesh.

Overall, the cumulative rainfall in the monsoon season has reached 243.2 mm (9.57 inches), which is 2% above the usual 239.1 mm (9.41 inches). Despite this, there are significant regional variations in rainfall.

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References:

1 15 dead as heavy rains lash north India, rivers in spate – PTI – July 9, 2023

2 Himachal Pradesh: Five dead in landslides, all major rivers in spate after heavy rains – The India Times – July 9, 2023

Featured image credit: Wion (stillshot)

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