Dust storm hits Delhi-NCR; flights, Metro services disrupted

Dust storm hits Delhi-NCR; flights, Metro services disrupted

People cross a road as it gets dark during a dust storm before rains and thunderstorm, in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

A dust storm, with winds gusting up to 96 kmph, barrelled through the national capital on Saturday evening, causing flight diversions, disruption in Metro rail services and tree falls.

The skies turned dark grey at 5.10 pm and swirling clouds of dust blew through Delhi-NCR, which also received light rain. The change in the weather brought the much-needed respite from the sweltering heat.

According to the MeT department, 4.5 mm of rainfall was recorded till 8.30 pm in the national capital.

Services on the Red Line and the Blue Line of the Delhi Metro were affected briefly due to snags on a few stretches because of the dust storm.

The wind speed touched 96 kmph, according to the Safdarjung observatory.

The high-velocity winds uprooted a number of trees and disrupted airport operations.

"Due to inclement weather in Delhi, 35 flights were diverted to nearby airports. Flights could not be operated at @DelhiAirport from 5 PM to 5:57 PM. Our Delhi ATC managing diversions & bringing back diverted flights in safe, orderly & expeditious manner. Safe flights our prime aim (sic)," Airports Authority of India tweeted.

A senior DMRC official said, "Due to sudden dust storm and rain around 5 pm, there were a few cases of track circuit signalling drop reported on Line 1 (Red Line) and Line 3 (Blue Line) and external object striking overhead electrification near Janakpuri East."

"This had no major impact on overall services, except minor regulation of trains on affected stretches. Trains on all lines are running normal otherwise," he said.

The Red Line connects Dilshad Garden in east Delhi and Rithala in the western part of the city. The Blue Line spans from Dwarka Sector 21 to Noida City Centre. They are two of the longest and busiest routes on the metro network.

The Delhi Police received 99 calls about uprooting of trees, 39 calls about fallen poles and 13 calls regarding wall/roof collapse.

Some of the areas from where calls were received included Lutyens' Delhi, Maharani Bagh, and Moti Nagar.

The downed trees and the subsequent rains led to traffic snarls in Lutyens' Delhi, south Delhi and other areas.

The maximum temperature was recorded at 40.1 degree Celsius, one notch above the season's average while the minimum temperature settled at 30 degrees Celsius, two notches above the season's average.

The humidity levels oscillated between 97% and 49%.

The weatherman has predicted light rains accompanied by gusty winds on Sunday.