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Rain batters northeast, IMD forecasts light showers in Delhi today

The India Meteorological Department daily report predicted light rainfall today in Delhi, reeling under a haze of dust brought by winds from Rajasthan which has raised the air pollution level to “severe”. It said the monsoon was hovering over Maharashtra in the west and parts of Odisha, West Bengal and Assam in east and northeast India. Any further advance of the monsoon is unlikely during next 6-7 days due to the prevalence of a weak pattern, it said.

The weatherman forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places in Konkan & Goa and heavy rain at some places in Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Meghalaya, sub-Himalayan West Bengal & Sikkim, Madhya Maharashtra and coastal Karnataka today.

According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority, four people lost their lives in flood and landslide related incidents during the past 24 hours. One person died in Mizoram. The total number of people dead in the northeast has risen to 17, officials said. The IMD said dust storm or thunderstorm is “very likely” at a few places over Rajasthan.

Dust storms this week in western India have led to a thick haze and increased the presence of ultra-fine pollutants in the air in the Delhi-NCR region. The dust storm in Rajasthan today led to cancellation of a Bikaner-New Delhi flight. In Delhi, the air pollution situation improved when compared to a day before, but it remained “severe”. Civil construction activities were ordered suspended until today. The weatherman has forecast light rainfall, which should settle the toxic dust particles in the air.

 Rainfall in parts of Punjab and Haryana, including Chandigarh, cleared the haze blanket, while flight operations hit in the two states due to low-visibility resumed on Saturday. The maximum temperature dropped by a few notches after rainfall in the two states. The rainfall brought cheers to paddy growers, readying their fields for transplanting paddy.

A few places in western and eastern Uttar Pradesh are also likely to experience rain or thunderstorm today, the MeT department in Lucknow said. The day temperature was above the normal in Varanasi, Allahabad, Kanpur and Moradabad divisions.

In Odisha, the Similipal Tiger Reserve was closed for visitors from Saturday in view of the monsoon. The STR, spread over an area of 2,750 sq km, attracts thousands of domestic and foreign tourists because of its varied flora and fauna, including the Black Melanistic Royal Bengal Tiger, and breathtaking waterfalls. The Odisha government also extended the summer vacation in schools by three days owing to the intense heat, a state education department official said in Bhubaneswar.

Odisha is reeling under sweltering heat with nine places including the state capital recording temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius, despite the onset of the monsoon in the state. Widespread rainfall lashed parts of Himachal Pradesh, settling the dust particles in the air. The visibility, however, remained poor due to mist but was expected to improve by tomorrow, Manmohan Singh, director, local Met office, said.