Thursday, June 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Parched region revels in rain

Chandigarh, June 18
Heavy rains lashed most of the northern states early today, providing respite from the heatwave which had gripped the region for the past fortnight and claimed several lives.

It started pouring at Chandigarh in the wee hours and by early morning the city had received a good amount of rainfall at 84.4mm, the Meteorological Department said.

In Haryana, Ambala was lashed by 5.6 mm of rainfall, Hisar 2.5 mm, Kalka 46 mm and Panchkula 12 mm.

Most of Punjab also had good rain. Ludhiana received 11 mm of rainfall and Patiala 12 mm while the Nangal Dam area received 40.8 mm of showers. Amritsar and Jalandhar were among the other major cities in the state to be lashed by rains.

The temperatures had hovered around 40C to 45C in the region and several people succumbed to heat in Punjab and Haryana.

The current change in weather is due to an upper air cyclonic circulation over north-west Rajasthan adjoining central Pakistan, which caused widespread rain, Director of the local Met Bureau S.C. Bhan said.

It poured at most places in Himachal Pradesh with Shimla receiving 22.2 mm of rainfall, Sundernagar (20.5 mm), Pandhoh (46 mm), Manali (15 mm), Solang Nullah (18 mm), Bhuntar (10 mm), Kasol (54.6 mm), Kahu (20 mm), Guler (13 mm), Nadaun (28.8 mm), Nagrota Surian (12 mm), Gamrur (14 mm) and Sujanpur Tera (30 mm).

The higher reaches of Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh experienced mild snowfall last night.

The peaks of Sapt Rishi, Lady of Keylong and Rohtang top were covered with snow, reports in Shimla said. The higher reaches of the Pangi area of Bharmour in Chamba district had sleet.

A report from Chamba said the district was hit by rain and a hailstorm in the morning. There were also reports of heavy rain in Rampur, Sirmaur and other regions of upper Himachal Pradesh.

The heavy rains during the night brought down the minimum and maximum temperatures to 10.9C and 26C, respectively, said Mr S.R. Bharadwaj, Associate Director, Horticulture Research Centre, Mashobra.

The Shimla area which had rains for the fourth successive day today recorded 34 mm of rains during the past 72 hours, which is ideal for the crops, he added.

He said that going by the trend of the pre-monsoon rain, the monsoon was likely to arrive by the due date around June 29.

The rains broke the prolonged dry spell, which had played havoc and triggered forest fires. The Forest Department heaved a sigh of relief as the rains extinguished the forest fires and soaked the highly inflammable dry pine needless with water. UNI, PTI

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