Dust storm lashes Capital, disrupts services

NEW DELHI, MAY 14,
A squall with wind speed over 100 kmph hit the Capital on Sunday evening reducing visibility, mobility and causing damage to property. The sky turned overcast by 4 p.m. and gusts of wind started blowing by 4.30 p.m. and continued intermittently till 10 p.m. The MeT Department said that the strongest gust of wind reached a speed of 109 kmph. More than 180 flights were affected at the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport. As many as 62 flights, including at least four international ones were diverted to nearby airports. Nearly 114 domestic and nine international flights were also delayed. A total of four flights were cancelled.
“There were no landings or take-offs at the airport for 40 minutes. In two and a half hours there were only two landings, as compared to an average of 36-37 landings per hour. The operations at the airport are badly affected,” said an airport official on the condition of anonymity. He added that it may take the entire night to recover from the impact of the storm as aircraft diverted to nearby airports are allowed to land at IGI.

Ooperations hampered

An official of the Indian Meteorological Department said, while visibility was well above the minimum requirements at IGI, the airport witnessed strong winds hampering operations. “There was squall and moderate thunderstorm. Visibility was at 1,500 metres, but winds were blowing at 52 knot,” according to IMD director R.K. Jenamani.

Four incidents of wall collapse were reported from Najafgarh, Transit Camp, Nehru Place, Mohan Garden in Uttam Nagar and Raj Nagar in Palam, said a senior officer from the Delhi Fire Service. Northern Railway also reported disruptions due to falling of trees on the track.

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