Karachi Cyclone Alert: Rain and Moderate Winds to Hit Coast
KARACHI: Some rainfall and moderate winds are expected to hit the coastal areas of Sindh today as a new cyclone in the Arabian Sea emerged on Monday.
The development of a deep depression in the ocean turning into a tropical cyclone, Ashoba, was confirmed by the Pakistan Meteorological Department. According to officials of the Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre (TCWC), around 25mm to 30mm rainfall along with wind speed of up to 40km is expected in Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Tharparkar, Thatta, Badin and Sujawal districts within the next 12 hours while the coastal areas of Balochistan will have the same weather condition after 24 hours.
“The cyclone is about 730km south of Karachi,” said Abdul Qayoom Bhutto, the TCWC director, on Monday evening, warning that it may intensify soon. The present movement of the tropical cyclone is north-northwest, he added. The speed of the cyclone is 15km per hour and the tides are expected to reach up to 15 feet, said the Met office.
Bhutto attributed cloudy weather in Karachi on Monday to this cyclone. “The movement seems very slow [at the moment] but it can gain speed with the passage of time.” The cyclone may hit parts of Sindh and Balochistan, he said, pointing that Karachi does not have a history of cyclones hitting it directly due to its topography.
Nevertheless, all departments have been asked to take precautionary measures. Fishermen have been warned not to venture out as the sea along Sindh and Balochistan is likely to remain rough till Friday. “We have warned fishermen not to go into the open sea,” said Sindh fisheries and livestock minister Jam Khan Shoro”. The fishermen have also observed the change [in sea conditions] and we have told them to avoid risks,” said Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum (PFF) chairperson Mohammad Ali Shah. Most fishermen avoid going into the open sea in June and July as these months are usually rough, he added.
Meanwhile, the commissioner’s office is prepared to deal with any rain-related emergency. “Hopefully, it [the cyclone] won’t hit Karachi and the rain will be converted into a blessing,” said Commissioner Shoaib Siddiqui, pointing out that a swimming ban is in place on the beaches.
All billboards, pole-mounted signs and other hazards have been taken down, said the spokesperson of Cantonment Board Clifton, Aamir Arab. “We were already at work and have directed advertisers to remove large objects within eight hours,” he said.
A control room has also been established at Sea View for emergencies. “Anyone in need can contact the control room,” he said, adding that workers have been tasked to clear the sewerage system before the rains.
However, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation has yet to take down the billboards despite orders by the local government minister, Sharjeel Memon, on Sunday evening. “The orders are being followed and all such boards will be removed by Tuesday,” said a KMC spokesperson.
Karachi-Electric also issued a press statement announcing that their emergency plan is in motion, equipment has been prepared and they have formed a back-up plan in case the cyclone wrecks their wires and poles. “Our team is well-prepared to tackle any emergency situation on an emergency basis,” said the K-E spokesperson, adding that they will coordinate with other civic agencies as well.
K-E chief of staff Usama Qureshi asked citizens to avoid parking vehicles under PMTs and keep safe distance from trees, signboards and electricity poles. Since water accumulates on streets, people are advised to watch out for manholes and downed wires, said the statement. Citizens can lodge complaints at their helpline, 118, text them to 8119 or reach them through social media.
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