Strong thunderstorm downs trees, damages property in twin cities

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ISLAMABAD, Jun 1 (APP): A severe thunderstorm on Wednesday night hit twin cities resulting death of five persons, disrupting the power supply, uprooting hundreds of trees, damaging houses, destroying hoarding and signboards, within a span of less than an hour.

Police said that a roof collapsed in Margallah town which
resulted the death of two girls and their mother while a brother and sister died in Qasimabad area of Rawalpindi after the roof of their house caved in.

The gusty winds sweeping across the twin cities blew at a
speed of 148 km/h and 120 km/h in Islamabad and Rawalpindi, respectively

Besides, more than two dozen people were injured in the rain which also destroyed several vehicles and electricity poles. Many areas of the twin cities remained without electricity.

Many pedestrians were also injured, as a result of falling
trees and signboards.

About five persons, who sustained minor injuries, were treated at the Benazir Hospital, Rawalpindi while half a dozen cases were reported at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) Hospital.

Many domestic flights were suspended because of the fierce
storm. The duration of the storm was recorded between 25 to 30 minutes at different places and considered dangerous in terms of its period.

Normally, such a storm with this intensity continues for 10 to 15 minutes in Rawalpindi-Islamabad region but this time, it lasted for an hour, a source at the Met office said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of trees were uprooted or badly broken
because of the gusty winds. A number of main roads including the parts of Islamabad Highway, Khayaban-i-Suhrawardy, the Attaturk Avenue, Margalla Road, Aabpra Road and many other main roads in the Capital were blocked at many points, due to falling of trees.

The street-light poles also crumbled at many points. The
fallen trees and twisted electric poles caused a lot of inconvenience to the sparse traffic on the roads and at some points the motorcyclists failed to control their vehicles and hit the fallen trees.

“The storm was so unpredictable and abrupt that we had to run for our lives,” said Irshad Khan, the owner of a stall at Aabpra market. He suffered a loss of more than Rs.10,000.
In rural areas of twin cities, some houses were damaged when the uprooted trees fell on the roofs, which failed to bear the burden and caved in. However, no casualty was reported from the rural belts.

In Islamabad, a fire broke out at a vegetable market when
power cables fell on various shops due to thunderstorm. Fire brigade reached the scene and launched efforts to extinguish the blaze.