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June 13, 2019

Cyclone in Arabian Sea may cause dust storm, heatwave in Karachi

Karachi

June 13, 2019

Tropical cyclone Vayu located some 650 kilometres in the south of Karachi in the east Arabian Sea intensified into a ‘very severe cyclonic storm’ on Wednesday evening and under its influence, there are chances of dust storm and light rain in some areas of Karachi, followed by severe heatwave like conditions in the metropolis, said Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) officials on Wednesday.

“Tropical cyclone Vayu has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm some 650 kilometres away in the south-east of Karachi on Wednesday and it is likely to remain 500 kilometres away from Karachi on Thursday morning. It would move along the Indian coastal areas of Gujarat and is likely to dissipate in the Arabian Sea after causing devastation along the Indian coast,” said Sardar Sarfraz of the Met Office Karachi while talking to The News on Wednesday night.

PMD officials are of the view that due to high humidity and climatic conditions in the Arabian Sea, there are chances of a dust storm as well as light rain or drizzle in some areas of Karachi. According to the officials, the light rain will, however, be followed by a severe heatwave like conditions in Karachi until Sunday, June 16.

“Some areas of Karachi may have light rain or drizzle tomorrow [Thursday] along with a dust storm but we are expecting a very hot and humid weather in the days ahead, at least up to Sunday,” Sarfraz said and added that due to the changing course of tropical cyclone Vayu, chances of rain in the coastal belt of Pakistan, including Thatta, Badin and Tharparkar, were also diminishing.

The sea breeze is likely to remain halted from Thursday to Sunday, PMD officials said, adding that this could lead to heatwave like conditions in the coastal areas of Sindh including Karachi. They said the temperature would rise up to 40 to 42 degrees Celsius during these days in the city and due to high levels of humidity both in the morning and evening hours, the feel-like temperature would be even higher than the actual temperature.

The PMD officials, however, ruled out the chances of conditions similar to those of June 2015 when a severe heatwave in the city had caused deaths of hundreds of people. The weather experts also warned the fishermen of Sindh not to venture out in the open sea as it could be very rough. They also asked the provincial government and administrative authorities to remain alert about Vayu’s impact. Meanwhile, health facilities of the Sindh government as well as those run by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) were put on high alert due to the cyclone warning issued by the PMD. The authorities asked the doctors, paramedics and nurses to remain on duty till further orders and instructions.

An official of the Sindh health department said all the leading tertiary care hospitals, including Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), Ruth KM Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Trauma Centre as well as some private health facilities have been placed on high alert due to the cyclone warning as well as the chances of a severe heatwave in the city.

Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani also called a meeting in which he reviewed proposals forwarded by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), district administrations, KMC, District Municipal Corporations (DMCs), Pakistan Navy, cantonment boards and other relevant departments to cope with the tropical cyclone and heatwave. It was decided in the meeting that the deputy commissioners, PDMA, KMC, DMCs, Pakistan Navy and others would finalise their contingency plans as soon as possible in order to provide protection to the citizens. The deputy commissioners were also directed to activate the heatwave first response centres.

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