Strong westerly starts producing heavy rains as farmers get ready for wheat harvesting

Strong westerly starts producing heavy rains as farmers get ready for wheat harvesting


Nine dead in lightning strikes; Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gets heaviest downpour so far

  • Weather system to remain active over Pakistan till Monday night
  • Damage to crops feared as the country has been experiencing record high food inflation
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LAHORE (Web Desk/Dunya News) – Heavy rain lashed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other regions, as a strong weather system started affecting western and upper parts of the country at a time when winter-sown crops, especially wheat is ready for harvesting.

On the other hand, lightning strikes killed six persons in southern Punjab amid the extreme weather event. Four of these deaths were reported from Khanpur and one each from Ahmedpur Sharqia and Bahawalpur.

Earlier on Friday, three persons, including two children, were killed, in lightning strikes in Balochistan.

As of Saturday morning [8pm], Kalam 60 and Upper Dir had received 60mm of rain each during the last 24 hours followed by Chitral 59, Malamjabba 49, Parachinar 42, Drosh 40, Peshawar (Bacha Khan A/P 31 and City 27), Saidu Sharif 26, Mardan 17 and Pattan.

However, the rainy spell generated by a westerly is also affecting Balochistan, Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, with the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) warning of flash flooding in Dera Ghazi Khan, Koh-e-Suleman, Lasbela, Khuzdar, Ziarat, Barkhan, Zhob, Sherani, Muslim Bagh, Quetta, Pishin, Kech, Panjgur, Turbat, Harnai, Kohlu, Naseerabad and Jafarabad on Saturday and Sunday.

Read more: Gwadar under water after relentless downpour, another strong westerly to hit Pakistan on Thursday

A similar forecast has been issued for Dir, Swat, Chitral, Kohistan, Manshera, Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir from Saturday till Monday along with the possibility of landslides in the mountainous areas.

During the past 24 hours, the heaviest rain in Balochistan was recorded at Zhob 40.

Friday also saw a dust storm engulfing parts of Balochistan which was followed by downpour in Quetta and other areas, submerging the low-lying localities.

As far as Punjab is concerned, Multan and other towns and cities across southern parts of the province witnessed strong winds and thunderstorms, which disrupted power supply as a result of damage to the transmission and distribution systems.

Meanwhile, western Punjab including Mianwali and Bhakkar was also witnessing heavy rain as the western disturbance is expected to remain active over the country till Monday night.

On the other hand, the Met Office has predicted that rain will start in Lahore on Saturday afternoon or evening and become heavier during the next two days.

But the weather system may be a blessing for the people [at least in the urban centres] given that it will cause a drop in temperatures and delay the use of fans or air-conditioners at a time when the electricity prices are skyrocketing. However, it isn’t the case for those involved in farming or other sectors of agriculture as the rains will adversely affect the wheat crop.

Read more: Global warming and inflation: Securing food security is a task that Pakistan cannot ignore

It must be noted that even strong winds can damage the wheat crop and the Met Office has warned of heavy rains, thunderstorm and even isolated hailstorms.

Wheat harvesting has started in lower Sindh around two weeks ago while the process in southern Punjab begins around April 20.

Pakistan is among the countries worst affected by climate change or global warming and any damage to the crops will lead to further fuelling food inflation in the country.