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Severe heatwave in Karachi expected

20 September, 2015

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LAHORE: The severe heatwave scorching Karachi and some other parts of Sindh for the past two days will persist on Sunday and Monday as well before subsiding on Tuesday, according to the Met office.

As Karachi reeled under a temperature of 43 degrees Celsius on Saturday, at least 12 cases of heatstroke were brought to hospitals across the city.

Most people preferred to stay indoors, having learnt a good lesson from the killer wave that roasted the metropolis in June. The spell had claimed well over 1,200 lives.

Mercifully, a timely warning by the Met office this time helped prevent casualties from reaching alarming proportions.

According to the Met department, a depression over northeast Maharashtra, India, moved north-westwards on Saturday and hovered over northern Madhya Pradesh, close to an area in Rajasthan that borders the Bahawalpur region.

It was likely to move further north-westwards (towards Pakistan) and to join a trough of westerly wave moving across northern Afghanistan.

The monsoon low over India, which moved closer to Pakistan on Saturday, was likely to move to catchment areas of the eastern rivers by Monday, producing flood-generating rains and having a potential to trigger landslides in Kashmir, the Met Department and its Flood Forecasting Division (FFD) warned.

The system, combined with a westerly wave, is likely to produce a mix of snow and rainfall in Azad Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan from Monday to Wednesday (Sept 21 to 23). Heavy snowfall is expected over the mountains higher than 15,000 feet.

Rains may trigger glacial-lake outburst flood and flash floods. The probability of such an eventuality is highest in Baltistan.

The Met office has advised people living along rivers and streams in these areas to exercise extreme caution over the next five days.

The mixture has the potential to cause rain, with heavy to very heavy falls, at scattered places over the lower catchments (Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, Sargodha and Rawalpindi divisions) and upper catchments of Sutlej, Ravi, Chenab and Jhelum rivers from Sunday to Thursday (Sept 20 to 24).

As a result, very high floods are expected in Chenab and Jhelum rivers, nullahs of Ravi and Chenab rivers in Sialkot region and hill torrents of Dera Ghazi Khan from Sept 21 to 25.

The Met office has forecast scattered rain and dust storms in eastern Sindh (Sukkur, Ghotki, Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Umarkot and Khairpur districts) and Bahawalpur and Sahiwal divisions in Punjab over the next 36 hours. A fresh monsoon low has developed over the northern Bay of Bengal, the Met department, adding that it was closely watching its movement.

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