People cover their heads with umbrellas as they wade through waterlogged streets at India Gate during heavy rainfall, in New Delhi on Sunday, July 9, 2023. Image Credit: ANI

New Delhi: At least 15 people were killed in floods and landslides triggered by monsoon rains that battered northern India, with New Delhi receiving the most rainfall in decades, reports and officials said Sunday.

Delhi, on Saturday and Sunday, received heavy rainfall breaking a 41-year record.

Roads in several parts of the capital were submerged in knee-deep water as it was inundated with 153 millimetres of rain, the highest precipitation in a single day in July in 40 years.

The Safdarjung weather station, which is the city’s weather base recorded 153 mm of rain till 8.30 am, the IMD said in a tweet.

In 1958, Safdarjung Observatory had recorded 266.2 mm of rain during the July 20-21 period while in 1982, it logged 169.9 during the July 25-26 period, IMD said.

A man rides his cycle rickshaw with a passenger through a flooded street after heavy rains in New Delhi, India, July 8, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

In view of rains for the last two days, the Delhi government has decided to keep schools closed tomorrow, said Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

Moderate to heavy rain continued to lash several parts of the city and its adjoining areas on early Sunday morning with the IMD predicting high-intensity showers over the National Capital for the next two days.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported Sunday that 15 people had been killed in the past 24 hours in six northern Indian states.

Hill states were the worst affected, leaving six dead in Himachal Pradesh alone where landslides blocked about 700 roads, Omkar Sharma, a disaster management official told AFP.

Amid the heavy rains in different parts of the country, India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday predicted that rainfall activity will continue over Northwest India, but the intensity of showers may differ.

Dr Charan Singh, Head of the Regional Meteorology Center, New Delhi said, “The intensity of rain that was yesterday will be the same in the mountains today, although the intensity of rainfall will decrease in plains from today. Yet there are chances of heavy rainfall’.

“If I speak about Delhi NCR, still there are chances of heavy rainfall at 1-2 locations and then Delhi NCR will not be witnessing heavy rainfall for the next 4 to 5 days. Although rain will continue to occur intermittently, but the intensity will be less,” Singh said.

He further said that in Northwest India, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand will witness extremely heavy rainfall for the next two days.

In view of incessant rains in the national capital, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday spoke to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena and took updates.

Children play on a flooded road after heavy rains in New Delhi, India, July 8, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

Shah spoke to Delhi LG as moderate to heavy rain lashed several parts of the national capital and its adjoining areas. The downpour slowed down the traffic movement after waterlogging in several parts of the city.

Pictures and videos of commuters wading through knee-deep water flooded social media platforms, raising concerns about the efficiency of the city’s drainage infrastructure.

Considering the situation, Delhi Traffic Police kept updating Delhi’ites about traffic affected in parts of the city through its Twitter account by uploading pictures of the waterlogged areas.

Strong winds and showers also caused disruptions in power and internet connectivity in several areas.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD), in a tweet on Sunday morning, has also said, “Thunderstorms with light to moderate intensity rain would occur over and adjoining areas of isolated places of Delhi.”

Heavy rains claim three lives, tourists stranded in Himachal

Heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh on Sunday claimed three lives of a family and hundreds, largely tourists, were stranded across the state as incessant rainfall for the second straight day triggered landslides and snapped over 700 road links, officials said.

The Chandigarh-Manali highway beyond Mandi town and the Pinjore-Baddi highway were hit.

Manali and Kullu towns were cut off from rest of the state.

Three members of a family were killed in Kumarsain tehsil of Shimla district when boulders fell on their house. The police, the NDRF and Home Guards have rescued five migrant laborers near Chhuruhadu in Kullu.

The famous Panchvaktra temple of Mandi city submerged in flood waters. Also several vehicles parked along the Beas river in Manali were washed away in the gushing waters.

Chief Minister Sukhvinder Sukhu expressed grief over the death of three family members. He said the district administration has been directed to provide immediate relief to the affected family. He ordered closure of all schools in the state on July 10 and 11 in the wake of heavy rain.

A man on his motorbike wades through a flooded street after heavy rains in New Delhi, India, July 8, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

Sukhu appealed to the people to avoid going near the rivers and rivulets, besides remaining vigilant amidst the ongoing adverse weather conditions.

Owing to heavy rain with possibility of snowfall in high altitude areas, the government on Saturday stopped the two-week long Shrikhand Mahadev pilgrimage, considered tougher than the journey to the Amarnath cave shrine in Kashmir, till Monday.

A day earlier, three devotees went missing during the pilgrimage. The rescue team recovered one body, while two were still missing, Deputy Superintendent of Police Chandrashekhar Kayath told the media. He said the search operation was hampered owing to bad weather.

An official of the local Met office told IANS there are chances of heavy rainfall at several places in the state till Monday. Incessant rain has also caused massive landslides on national highways in Shimla, Kinnaur, Mandi and Kullu districts, hampering vehicular traffic.

Due to heavy rains on the Kalka-Shimla track, all trains have been canceled due to falling of stones and mud from the mountains.

The water level in the major rivers of the state - the Satluj, Beas and Yamuna - which enter the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana has also increased, a government official told IANS. The crucial Chakki bridge at the national highway 154 has been closed for vehicular traffic till further orders. The bridge links Punjab with Himachal Pradesh. The 40-year-old bridge connecting Banjar with Aut in Kullu district has collapsed.

Acting Director General of Police Satwant Atwal said 12 employees of the Veterinary Department, who went to study the grasslands of Bhawa Kanda, have been stuck in Bhawa valley in Kinnaur.

Rains lash Punjab

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has instructed officials to reach out to people in the low-lying areas after rains lashed the border state for the last two days.

“It has been raining continuously for the last two days in Punjab, due to which people are facing difficulties in the low-lying areas and especially in the areas near the rivers. I have issued instructions to all my Ministers, MLAs and DCs and SSPs of all districts to reach out to people,” CM Bhagwant Mann said in a roughly hindi translated tweet on Sunday.

Following the heavy rains, the authorities opened the floodgates of the city’s Sukhna Lake after the water level swelled as seen in a viral video.

Bodies of two soldiers recovered

Indian Army on Sunday said the bodies of two soldiers, who went missing after they were swept away by rain-triggered flash floods, were recovered from the Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday.

The deceased jawans have been identified as Naib Subedar Kuldeep Singh and Lance Naik Telu Ram.

The Jammu-based White Knight Corps in a tweet confirmed their deaths.