Dust storm blows away the heat


NEW DELH, 1 MAY:A STRONG dust storm swept the city this afternoon, bringing a mild respite from the scorching summer sun. However, the dus storm, which was accompanied by lightning and thunder, soon passed off without bringing any rain to the Capital, leaving the Delhiites largely disappointed.

Meteorological Office Director S C Gupta informed that the dust storm brought in winds with a speed of up to 58 kilometres per hour.

Explaining the phenomenon behind the storm, Mr Gupta said "The storm was the result of continuous heating since the past four-five days. Due to local heating, thundery development was noted in Punjab at around 11 am today. The system moved towards Rohtak and reached Delhi at around 3 pm. After resulting in strong winds and thunder in the Capital, it soon moved towards Meerut,'' said the Met Office Director.

Though the afternoon sky was covered with dark clouds, there were no rains as the clouds did not have much water content. Even the drop in mercury was only slight.

“When the dust storm hit Delhi, the temperature was around 38 degrees Celsius and it came down to 35 degrees Celsius later. The maximum temperature for the day, however, still touched the 41 degrees Celsius-mark,” said Mr Gupta.

However, the Met office said that the respite is temporary in nature. “Heating will start again. The day temperature will continue to remain around 41-42 degrees Celsius,'' he added.

Airport closed: The dust storm led to the closure of the Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport for over an hour this afternoon, causing a near traffic snarl up in the sky.

During the airport closure from 1.54 pm to 3.23 pm, three Delhi-bound flights were forced to hover in the sky for about 20 minutes, whereas five others were diverted away from IGI airport.

Of these five, three landed at the Agra airport and one each at Lucknow and Ahmedabad airports respectively. All of them were domestic flights.

The airport was closed seconds after Alliance flight (CD-7133) from Bhopal touched down. "The gathering storm after CD-7133 touched down looked menacing and we decided to close down the airport for safety reasons," a senior officer said. Improper functioning of the Instrument Landing Systems (ILS) further complicated situation.