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Torrential rains continue to batter parts of north India, with states of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Haryana recording 13 rain-related deaths and Punjab sounding a ‘red alert’ as a flood-threat looms over the state.
Rolling out a contingency plan, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh called an emergency meeting to review flood preparedness to deal with any eventuality that may arise due to the prevailing situation.
As part of the arrangements, the chief minister has directed officials of all districts to remain on constant vigil and the Army has also been alerted, according to the press release issued by the state government.
District control rooms have been activated for fast response and local ministers have been asked to tour areas to assess the situation on the ground. The state government has also announced a survey to assess crop damage.
The Chief Minister has also ordered schools and colleges to remain shut and has advised the people of Punjab to stay indoors for the next 24 hours.
The state's health department has been asked to undertake measures to prevent a possible outbreak of water-borne diseases.
According to the Meteorological Department, rains will continue to lash parts in Punjab and Haryana for the most part of the day today, though it is likely to recede thereafter.
Elsewhere, heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in parts of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.
In the worst affected state of Himachal Pradesh, five people have died, many have been injured and hundreds are stranded in the tourist town of Manali which has been cut-off from the rest of the state due to parts of roads being submerged in flood water.
In Jammu and Kashmir, at least 29 people were rescued from the Kathua are following relentless rains.
Meanwhile, heavy rainfall has also snarled traffic in Delhi and adjoining region, disrupting the normal life in the national capital.
And as expected, Twitter was abuzz with videos and pictures from people struggling to commute from work to home.
At Woolgoolga, north of Coffs Harbour, a big damage has been done to the banana crops due to the wild storms and flooding. "We have lost our crop but not the spirits," Iqbal Singh Grewal said in this interview with SBS Punjabi's Preetinder Grewal
An Australian study published in the prestigious Nature Geoscience on June 9, has found that storms become more erratic in warmer temperatures. Prof Ashish Sharma and Conrad Wasko of UNSW conducted this study in all the major cities of Australia, looking at storm and flooding patterns in the last 30 years. It found that the same amount of rain can cause a very different amount of flooding, depending on whether the temperature of the day was cold or warm. The study finds that one degree higher temperature can cause 7% more moisture to be accumulated in the atmosphere, which can increase the severity of flooding in a sudden weather event. Prof Sharma beleives that this is a global phenomenon, and with weather becoming warmer around the world, better planning and engineering initiatives are needed to prevent the severity of flash flooding. Here he is, in conversation with SBS Punjabi's Manpreet K Singh