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Has anyone noticed that we the Karachiites missed the monsoon this year? Yes there were few occasions when in different parts of the city there were varied shades of a monsoon in the shape of a drizzle here or a limited downpour there, but nothing like the regular monsoon that usually arrived in middle of July and stayed till the beginning of September.

If you remember there was a regular monsoon culture in Karachi which entailed entire families walking around in the first rain of the season and stopping at eateries to munch on Samosas and Pakoras. Cycling was another activity that used to suddenly flourish just like the greenery that sprouted out of the earth within hours of a rainfall.

It was not long ago that we used to have cycles on hire in every corner of the city. I remember coming home from office and after changing rush out again to hire a cycle together with other friends and enjoy cycling in the rain.

A walk in the rain was also a must with my three daughters who would be waiting for me during this rainy period and ensure that we have a family walk in the rain during at least one of the downpours.

All this has changed and now there is no certainty of a monsoon but we do get random samples of rough and sometimes wet weather at different times of the year.

It was only a week or ten days ago that I was awakened in the middle of the night by a horrid sound as if someone was trying to uproot the door of my bedroom. Scared and stunned I cautiously opened the door and peered out to see the trees in the park adjacent to my home swinging wildly as if about to be uprooted.

A sudden storm had hit Karachi without warning and was at different stages of strength in different parts of the city. At that time a friend of mine was just landing in Karachi and according to him his plane barely made it as it was caught in the storm during landing.

There was rain accompanied by this storm but again its intensity was different in different parts of the city testifying to the erratic nature of weather in the city.

How erratic our weather has become can be ascertained from the fact that not too long ago and in fact just last year Bahria Town Karachi received the highest-ever annual rainfall in Karachi, which was 1048mm.

Now after a year we have all waited for some heavy rain but only witnessed short and not very heavy rain in different parts of the city.

Not the sustained thunder storms and heavy rainfalls that were a routine in this city by the sea.

Perhaps the only people relieved at the absence of bursts of rain in the city are the ones constructing rain drainage scheme in DHA Karachi. There was a lot of apprehension that if there are heavy rains the incomplete project will pose many threats in different forms around this project.

What is also new weather wise in Karachi are increased threats of cyclonic storms. Mostly these storms surface in the northeastern and southeastern parts of Indian Ocean but now there is also danger lurking in its northwestern part, the Arabian Sea. Only few days ago we were informed of a cyclonic storm in this area.

Pakistan Meteorological Department informed us that the Cyclonic Storm (TEJ) over Southwest Arabian Sea had moved further west-northwestward, intensified into a Severe Cyclonic Storm (SCS) and now lay centered at a distance of about 1880km southwest of Karachi, 1670km south/southwest of Gwadar & 750km south-southeast of Salalah (Oman).

Maximum sustained surface winds are 100-110 Km/h gusting 120 Km/h, sea conditions very high/phenomenal & maximum wave height is 25 feet around the system center.

The system is likely to strengthen further into a Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) and keep moving in west-northwest direction towards Yemen-Oman coast. No Impact on any of Pakistan coastal area from this system.

Nothing can be said with certainty about a cyclonic storm whose direction is dictated by ever-changing weather conditions. We have all seen the many twists and turns that took place when cyclonic storm Biparjoy was lurking around the shores of Karachi.

One can only attribute its last minute change of direction to miss Karachi as nothing short of a miracle. Karachi weather has now become almost unpredictable and all authorities concerned should gear up to face any eventuality as the lives of millions of Karachi residents depend on their preparedness.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

Zia Ul Islam Zuberi

The writer is a well-known columnist


Comments are closed.

KU Oct 28, 2023 10:55am
Has anyone noticed the change in weather patterns, over the last 5 years, in the agriculture regions of Sindh, Punjab, and KPK? Nope, because it is boring news and besides, no relevant department is interested in gathering data or sharing it with concern. There is much more than missing the monsoon; crops are facing destruction and low yields from the early warming season, due to changes in rain and snow patterns, irrigation water is becoming scarce, and pest and fungus attacks are more common. The rise in the cost of production is nipping all cultivation activity on top of other problems.
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