Heaviest rainfall in 10 years cripples Delhi, airport flooded

A heavy downpour caused flooding and brought parts of the capital to a virtual standstill for hours on Saturday as several roads got submerged under rainwater, stranding vehicles.

New Delhi: A heavy downpour caused flooding and brought parts of the capital to a virtual standstill for hours on Saturday as several roads got submerged under rainwater, stranding vehicles.

Two Metro stations were shut due to flooding.

Parts of Delhi airport too were flooded but the air traffic remained largely unaffected.

"Despite heavy rain at the airport all passenger facilities at the airport remain completely unaffected including the baggage belts. All flight operations are fully normal at the moment except one flight which was diverted and four flights had to go around for a few minutes," said an official of the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL).

The capital received 123mm of rain from 11.30am to 5.30pm, one of the heaviest spells in the last 10 years, according to the Met office. The rain exposed the poor drainage system of the city and the inadequate anti-flooding arrangements made by civic agencies.

The rain brought down the maximum temperature to 31.1 degrees celsius, three notches below average, while the minimum dropped to 23 degrees celsius, four notches below average. More rain is forecasted on Sunday.

A combination of waterlogged roads, uprooted trees and broken down vehicles resulted in chaos on roads for hours Saturday.

Massive traffic jams were reported from across the city and the worst affected was central Delhi. Entire road stretches around India Gate, commercial hub Connaught Place and ITO, which houses several government offices, were completely choked with vehicles.

"I am stuck near Pragati Maidan for the last three hours and I have just moved a few feet I had to wade through a pool of water at least four feet deep," said motorist Rajiv Rathi, an IT professional on his way to Noida from India Gate.

Dipankar Mukherjee, a commuter stuck near ITO, said: "I have never seen such heavy rains for as long as I can remember ... the situation is maddening."

Traffic jams were also reported from south Delhi`s Okhla Industrial area, Chittaranjan Park, Kalkaji, Sainik Farms, Saket, west Delhi`s Patel Nagar, Kirti Nagar, Mayapuri, Raja Garden, north Delhi`s Shalimar Bagh and Model Town and east Delhi`s Laxmi Nagar and Krishna Nagar.

Officials of civic corporations could be seen wading through waist deep water near Pragati Maidan as they tried to open clogged drains of the underpass.

Several bus and autorickshaw passengers who were stuck in the jam for hours got down and walked through knee deep water to reach their destinations.

The Delhi Metro service remained largely unaffected but its Malviya Nagar and Saket stations were shut down for over an hour due to flooding resulting from rainwater seeping through the roof of the underground facility.

"There was flooding in some parts of the Metro station because of which we had to shut it down but the trains are operating normally," said an official of Delhi Metro.

The Saket station was shut down too as rainwater flooded its entry gates.

Northern Railway services were hit as 13 trains which were to pass through Delhi got delayed due to flooding at some stations.

Minister of state for human resource development Shashi Tharoor tweeted: "New Delhi reeling under monsoon flooding.

Cars stuck on roads. Every surface drips. My home has had a crippling power blackout since 1.45 pm"

The private power distribution companies, which cater to areas other than the central parts housing MPs, said there were no major power cuts due to rain.

India meteorological department (IMD) has forecast more rains in the city on Sunday.

"A few spells of rain are expected tomorrow (Sunday) in some parts of the city," said an official of the IMD. Adding that Sunday`s maximum and minimum temperatures will be around 32 and 23 degrees celsius.