With winter setting in, the twin cities saw their first rainfall of the season throwing life completely out of gear for unprepared residents.
Light to heavy rain along with thunderstorms lashed Islamabad and Rawalpindi from Saturday evening and continued all day Sunday, bringing down the mercury level by a margin. Moreover, heavy downpour in the last two days has left many streets in the twin cities waterlogged.
Though intermittent showers were witnessed across the country, the heaviest rain was recorded in Islamabad. According to the Met Office, 112 millimeter (mm) rain was recorded in Saidpur Village, 103mm at Zeropoint, and 74mm in Golra by 7pm Sunday.
In Rawalpindi, 100mm rain was recorded in Shamsabad while 72mm in Chaklala.
Spillways of the Rawal Dam were also opened to release excess water after there was a significant rise in the water level there, Sub-Divisional Officer Rana Bilal said.
Met Office Director-General Ghulam Rasool, said the rain is expected to continue for the next two days and temperature is expected to continue to drop but rain intensity will decrease in the Potohar region.
Rasool added that owing to the impact of climate change, winter season has started earlier would likely remain unpredictable. The temperature is expected to drop to 5 to 6 degree centigrade on Sunday night, he shared.
Meanwhile, rain-thunderstorm is expected at scattered places in Islamabad and Rawalpindi over the next two days, a Met spokesperson said.
The domestic flight schedule was also disrupted posing difficulties for passengers at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. According to PIA officials, two flights from Lahore and Bahawalpur to Islamabad were delayed by three hours owing to bad weather conditions.
Meanwhile, reports of water clogging came from low-lying areas of Rawalpindi where rainwater turned several roads of Muslim Town, Waris Khan, Kuri Road, Naz Cinema, Charah Road, Dhoke Khaba, Arya Mohallah, Nadeem Colony, Dhoke Elahi Buksh, Umer Road, and other areas into small ponds.
Nonetheless, responding to the situation, Water and Sanitation Agency teams rushed to the affected areas and started clearing up the water. Speaking to The Express Tribune, agency spokesperson Umer Farooq said around 11 sucker and jetting machines and 10 dewatering tanks were being used to clear the roads. He shared that the amount of rainfall exceeded their expectations but they were still coping.
He also said around 150 workers were deployed in the field while holidays of staff were also cancelled.
There was chaos on most roads of the twin cities. Vehicles were stuck in mud and pedestrians wadded through ankle-and-knee-deep water in flooded narrow lanes of Glass factory, Dhoke Khaba, Arian Mohalla, Ganj Mandi, Sadiqabad and Hazara colony of Rawalpindi.
Commuters also suffered as most public transporters preferred to stay off the roads.
Spokesperson of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences Dr Ayesha Essani said the situation at the emergency ward remained normal during the rain spell.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2015.