New Delhi: A powerful dust storm accompanied by rains on Sunday evening brought down the temperature in the national capital and adjoining areas, seriously disrupting air traffic and Metro services, officials said.
As the storm blew at a highest speed of 70km/h, mercury fell from 39 degrees Celsius at 4pm to 25 degrees half-hour later, the Indian Meteorological Department told IANS. By early evening, the skies had turned dark.
Ten incoming flights to the Indira Gandhi International Airport were diverted between 4.15 and 5.30pm due to poor visibility and strong winds, an airport official said.
Delhi Metro operations were also hit. Thousands of commuters were stuck on the winding and busy Blue Line, which links Dwarka in northwest Delhi to Noida and Vaishali in Uttar Pradesh, for almost 45 minutes.
When the Metro services resumed, the trains plied at halting speed.
The rains and storm brought down trees and tree branches in some areas and led to traffic snarls, forcing two-wheeler drivers to take shelter under bridges and flyovers. Motorists switched on headlights to find their way in the enveloping darkness.
But the dramatic change in weather did bring respite to residents from the sweltering heat.
The Met department has forecast rain and thunderstorm with gusty wind towards the end of the day.
Power supply was affected in many areas in Delhi and Gurugram in Haryana.
The Met official said that Sunday morning was the hottest of the season, with minimum temperature recorded at 30.6 degrees Celsius, five notches above the season’s average.