New Delhi: Heavy rain lashed the national capital and its adjoining suburbs on Saturday, bringing relief to people from the sweltering heat but also hit road traffic and flight movement. Kolkata also saw pre-monsoon showers, while the south-west monsoon advanced further and covered the entire state of Karnataka.
In Delhi, the day began on a partly cloudy note but gave way to the intense summer heat. However, in the afternoon, the sky again turned dark and a massive duststorm followed by a thunderstorm hit the region around 2.30 p.m.
Some parts of the capital witnessed a hailstorm as well.
The national capital received 4.8 mm of rainfall till 5.30 p.m., said the India Meteorological Department. Strong gusts of wind and heavy rain uprooted trees and caused water-logging, leading to traffic snarls in many parts of the city.
A shanty collapsed in the slum clusters of Shakarpur in west Delhi and the roof of a house fell in north Delhi's Burari, said the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
Sixteen flights -- 13 domestic and 3 international -- coming to Delhi were diverted due to the bad weather, said sources at the Indira Gandhi International airport.
As per Delhi Police's traffic unit, jams were reported from many parts of the city.
Many two-wheeler riders took refuge under flyovers and foot-over-bridges. The parked scooters and motorcycles blocked a portion of the road, causing traffic snarls.
Showers and the subsequent drop in temperature brought more visitors to popular city spots like Connaught Place, India Gate, the three Dilli Haats and Delhi Zoo.
Sunidhi Batra, a college student who was at Central Park in Connaught Place, said: "Thankfully, the heat is gone and I wish the rain continues through the weekend."
Private weather forecaster Skymet said the showers were pre-monsoon rains and will continue for the next couple of days.
"These are pre-monsoon showers caused due to two cyclonic circulations -- over north Rajasthan and Pakistan, and Uttar Pradesh. The showers will continue in the region over the next couple of days," Skymet chief G.P. Sharma told IANS.
An IMD official too said showers will continue in Delhi. "There will be rain and thunderstorms in some parts of the city tomorrow (Sunday)."
Sunday's maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to hover around 38 and 27 degrees Celsius, respectively. Saturday's maximum temperature was recorded at 39.7 degrees while the minimum settled at 29 degrees - both a notch above the season's average.
In Kolkata, puddles of rain water formed on major throughfares as pre-monsoon showers brought much-needed relief from the sweltering heat and humidity for residents.
The spells of rain and thundershowers began in the morning and continued through the day, bringing down the mercury level.
The regional Met office has predicted more thundershowers for several Bengal districts like Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24 Parganas and Nadia.
Netizens expressed delight on Twitter and Facebook and uploaded photographs of themselves enjoying the showers.
In Karanataka, the Met office said rain and thundershowers were likely to occur at most places as the south-west monsoon advanced further into the remaining parts of north interior Karnataka and covered the entire state.
Fishermen have been cautioned to stay off the sea as strong winds from the westerly direction reaching up to speeds of 45-55 km per hour were likely to blow along and off the Karnataka coast till Sunday.