KARACHI: A tropical cyclone in the Arabian Sea is expected to bring heavy rain and thunderstorms in Karachi on Friday as authorities declared a rain emergency.
The Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has also issued a red alert ahead of the tropical cyclone at Karachi Port and Port Qasim in view of the threat of the tropical storm. Preparations have been completed for dealing with an emergency situation at both ports. All ships have been instructed to keep their engines on and remain stationed at the berths.
Commissioner Karachi has declared a public holiday stating that all government offices and businesses will remain closed today except essential services and those involved in rain emergency relief activities.
Commissioner Navid Ahmed Shaikh has also alerted concerned departments in view of the developing cyclone and directed to immediately remove all billboards from buildings and signboards across the city. He also ordered all deputy commissioners to remain active in their respective areas and ensure safety measures in view of the rain forecast.
Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah also announced that all educational institutions will remain closed today due to inclement weather and heavy rains. The Private Schools Owners Association has also announced to close down all schools.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department has forecast moderate to heavy downpours and possible isolated heavy rains from Friday to late Saturday under the influence of deep depression that is likely to convert into a tropical cyclone.
In its fresh alert issued, the Met Office said said that the depression over the northeast Arabian Sea has moved west-northwestward at a speed of 20km/hr during last 12 hours and has further intensified.
The Met Office further stated that it is at a distance of 200km from Thatta and 410km from Ormara. “The system is likely to strengthen further into a Cyclonic Storm during next 12-18 hours and move west-northwestwards.
It forecast widespread rain and thunderstorms with scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall with squally (strong) winds in Karachi, Hyderabad, Thatta, Badin, Mirpurkhas, Thaparker, Umerkot, Sanghar, Shaheed Benazirabad, Nosheroferoz, Tando Muhammad Khan, Tando Allayar, Dadu, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Larkana, Jacobabad, Shikarpur and Ghotki districts from Sep 30 to Oct 2 (Thursday to Saturday).
The Met Office also cautioned fishermen not to go to the open sea till October 3 [Sunday] given “very rough” conditions in the Arabian Sea.
Meanwhile, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has assigned duties to ministers to supervise relief and rescue operations. Excise and Taxation Minister, Mukesh Kumar Chawla, was tasked to monitor the situation in Karachi’s South District, Minister of Labour, Information and Human Resources Saeed Ghani, East District, Special Assistant to CM on Inter-Provincial Coordination Taimur Talpur was assigned Korangi while Shehla Raza and Minister for Zakat and Ushr Sajid Jokhio would look after Central and Malir districts respectively.