IQTIDAR GILANI / SHEHLA AMBREEN

LAHORE / ISLAMABAD

Widespread rains played havoc with public life and property across the country on Thursday as dozens of people lost their lives and over 100 injured in rain-related mishaps.

The rains, heaviest of ongoing monsoon season, brought the life to a standstill by causing urban flooding, massive traffic jams and frequent power shutdowns in major cities including Lahore.

Experts have forecast widespread rains with scattered heavy falls and isolated exceptionally heavy falls for parts of the country during the next 2-3 days. High to exceptionally high flood level is expected in Rivers Ravi, Chenab, Jhelum and Sutlej along with their associated nullahs during next couple of days.

The downpour disturbed the normal routine life across the country as the rainwater inundated roads not only in low-lying areas but also in posh localities. Inundated rainwater on roads caused traffic mess. The rains, however, decreased in temperature during the day and at nighttime.

In Lahore, the rains started last evening and continued intermittently throughout the day on Thursday, submerging roads and streets in every nook and corner in knee deep water. Windstorm caused felling of trees and branches on roads, creating traffic mess. Bursts of heavy rains smashed to the ground tall claims of Wasa regarding its preparation for the rainy season as it took hours to the sanitation agency to clear roads from inundated rainwater.

Major roads, not only in Northern Lahore but also in posh localities, were presenting pictures of lakes and ponds even hours after stoppage of rains. Many roads were not cleared from inundated rainwater till filing of this report. The rains added to the woes and miseries of motorists and pedestrians. Many vehicles and motorcycles were seen broken down in various parts of the city.

Under passes along Canal Bank Road, Garden Town, Johar Town, Main Boulevard Gulberg, Lakshami Chowk, Garhi Shahu, Chowk Nakhuda, Mozang, Tharenten Road, Riwaz Garden, Chuburji, Aziz Road, Shaarey Fatima Jinnah, Hameed Nizami Road, Zeldar Road, Ghazi Road, Samanabad, Main Boulevard Iqbal Town, Wahdat Colony, Rehman Pura, Railway Road, Shadbagh, Circular Road, Saidpur, Shahnoor, Scheme Mor, Sabzazar, Abbot Road, Montgomery Road, Gawalmandi, Data Nagar, Abdul Karim Road, inside Delhi Gate, Masti Gate, RA Bazar, Nishat Colony, Tajpura, Mughalpura, Maskeen Pura and Joray Pul were the worst affected areas of rainwater. 

On Thursday, maximum and minimum temperature in the City was recorded 28 degree Celsius and 22 C respectively. Relative humidity in the evening was recorded 88 percent.

The local meteorological department has forecast widespread rain-thundershowers for Kashmir, Islamabad, northeast Punjab (Lahore, Gujranwala, Rawalpindi divisions), Hazara division, at scattered places of Sargodha, Faisalabad, Sahiwal divisions, Malakand divisions and Gilgit-Baltistan and at isolated places in Peshawar, Kohat, Mardan, Fasialabad, Sahiwal divisions during the next couple of days.

River Chenab at Marala is likely to attain high to very high flood level ranging between 350,000 cusecs to 450,000 cusecs during 1400PST. River Chenab at Khanki is likely to attain high to very high flood level ranging between 350,000 cusecs to 450,000 cusecs, while the situation is same at Qadirabad.

Besides, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Thursday warned that a flood-like situation could emerge in Nullah Leh if the current downpour continued with a faster flow.

Chief Meteorologist Dr Ghulam Rasool told The Nation that the current system had potential to produce downpour amounting to more than 200mm a day in catchment areas of rivers Chenab, Jhelum, Sutlej and Ravi. The official said that current system of monsoon entered southeastern Sindh three days before and was moving northwards along Pak-India border producing heavy to very heavy rains in eastern Punjab.

"Due to heavy downpour in Indian regions adjoining Pakistan, the eastern rivers in our country may experience 'high' to 'very high' flood conditions," the official said adding that special concern would be related to rivers Sutlej and Ravi because, in Indus Water Treaty, water of these rivers had been given to India.

The two rivers usually remained dry even during the monsoon season.

Talking to The Nation, NDMA spokesman Ahmad Kamal said that a large population in Pakistan sitting in the riverbeds would be vulnerable to high flows expected after the current pattern of downpour.

He said that the wet spell would continue in the next 48 hours but then its intensity was expected to gradually decrease. Rivers Ravi, Chenab, Jhelum and Sutlej were at the risk of flood but the flow would remain within rivers.

He said that authorities at district levels had been asked to evacuate the areas along rivers at risk of floods. The Met office was also preempted in Thursday's meeting to regularly analyse the situation after every 12 hours and share the critical information with authorities at district, provincial and federal levels.

On Thursday, Sialkot received 252mm rain, Mangla 199mm, Lahore 172mm, Gujrat 165mm, Jehlum 148mm, Kotli 141mm, Kasur 132mm, Gujranwala 125mm, Rawalakot 121mm, Okara 102mm, Faisalabad 97mm, Toba Tek Singh 81mm, Mandi Bahauddin 77, Bahawalnagar 57, Islamabad 55, Rawalpindi 53mm, Dir 39mm, Skardu 38mm, Kakul 30mm, Murree 28mm, Astore 27mm, Garidupatta 26mm, Balakot and Muzaffarabad 18mm each, Sargodha 13mm, Bunji and Chakwal 10mm each, Jhang 08mm, Hunza and Chillas 06mm each, Bahawalpur, Malamjabba and Gilgit 02mm each.