Health and Fitness

Jama Masjid suffers damage as thunderstorm surprises capital

A warm and humid afternoon in Delhi-NCR on Monday was followed by a fierce thunderstorm, hail, and strong winds in the evening that left dozens of trees uprooted and a part of the Jama Masjid damaged.

The finial atop the middle dome of the Jama Masjid was damaged in the squall on Monday. Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, said that two pieces of the finial had fallen, while another piece was still on the roof. “The piece that is still on the roof is tilted and stuck. If it falls, it could drag down parts of the wall in front of it. In some parts, stones also fell. Three people were injured,” he said. The height of the finial would be around 10 to 12 ft, he said, and it is as old as the masjid.

“Only ASI will be able to repair this since the expertise is with them. We are writing to the DG of the ASI requesting them to send a team to fix it,” he said. Stones from the minaret of the masjid had fallen in a storm last year, while cracks had developed in the northern dome due to seepage.

With large trees keeling over during the squall, some roads had to be temporarily closed off and the capital saw traffic jams that lasted hours.

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Between 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm, the Safdarjung weather observatory that serves as a marker for the city recorded 17.8 mm of rainfall, which is considered ‘moderate’ according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The Lodhi Road weather station recorded a higher amount of 20 mm, along with hail, while the Ridge in North Delhi recorded 15 mm. The observatory at Palam recorded the lowest amount on Monday evening at 0.4 mm.

Winds with an immense speed of around 100 kmph were recorded at the Safdarjung weather observatory, while Palam recorded a speed of around 70 kmph.

The temperature at Safdarjung saw a steep fall of around 15 degrees, from 40 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius between 4.20 pm and 5.40 pm.

The maximum temperature recorded during the day was 40.6 degrees Celsius, which is around the normal for this time of the year. The humidity was around 63% at 8.30 am on Monday. The Najafgarh weather station recorded the highest maximum temperature in the city on Monday at 42.8 degrees Celsius.

The rainfall was brought by a western disturbance that lies over northern Pakistan, affecting northwest India. “Along with the western disturbance, the build-up of moisture and wind conditions…easterly winds… contribute to severe thunderstorms like this one, which might happen once in three or four years,” said R K Jenamani, scientist, IMD. “The western disturbance was already there, and the high humidity triggered the system,” he added. The city saw a thunderstorm and rainfall last week as well, which resulted in a fall in temperature, and suppressed heatwave conditions.

Till Sunday, the Safdarjung weather station had recorded 29.9 mm of rainfall, which was already in excess of the normal of 19.7 mm for the month. With the additional 17.8 mm recorded till 5.30 pm on Monday, the month has witnessed 47.7 mm of rain. Much of the summer’s rainfall has been concentrated in May, while March remained entirely dry and April recorded only 0.3 mm, which was a deficit of 98%. The normal amount of rainfall for March, April and May together is 47.8 mm.

On Tuesday, partly cloudy skies and very light rain or thundershowers are likely, along with a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Over the next six days, the maximum temperature could range from 40 to 42 degrees Celsius. From June 1 to 5, clear skies and winds of around 20 to 30 kmph are on the forecast. No significant heatwave conditions are likely over the country during the next five days, the IMD said in an update issued on Monday evening.

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