11 Jul 2023

Weather: Experts Tell Why Extremely Heavy Rainfall Is Pounding Northwestern India

The extremely heavy rainfall over the northwestern states including Himachal, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Haryana is due to the convergence of monsoon winds and the western disturbance. Rainfall activity usually increases when there is such an interaction between the western disturbance and monsoon winds.

A Western Disturbance is a low-pressure system that starts off in the Mediterranean Sea and moves eastward across Central Asia. As it travels across the region, it brings changes in weather patterns, especially in Northern India, Pakistan, and Nepal.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the monsoon is in active phase over Northwest India. Heavy rainfall is occurring mainly because of the interaction between the western disturbance, which is moving across Northwest India, and strong monsoon winds approaching the same region. There is the confluence between two types of winds, and these two winds are hitting the western Himalayan region. 

The confluence of two types of winds has led to incessant heavy rain across large areas of north India, with incidents of cloud burst being reported from Himalayan states that have swept away houses and buildings

Amid red alert, rains have wreaked havoc in Himachal Pradesh. Five people died on Monday in Shimla’s Kumarsain, Rampur and Kullu. Cloud burst in Jagrai Nala of Manikarna Valley of Kullu district has caused huge devastation. Debris and water entered people’s houses after a cloudburst at Thunag in Mandi district. 


Scenes are similar to 2013 ‘Himalayan Tsunami'

The scenes are similar to the ‘Himalayan Tsunami’ that struck Uttarakhand in 2013. Satellite images captured by INSAT bear an alarming resemblance to the situation witnessed during the 2013 ‘Himalayan Tsunami’ that had caused flash floods in Kedarnath, leading to hundreds of deaths and heavy loss to property in the region.

This interaction between the western disturbance and monsoonal winds is expected to persist for the next 24-36 hours, leading to heavy rainfall in most parts of northwest India, according to an IMD update.

Delhi recorded 153 mm of rain in 24 hours on Sunday, the highest in a single day in July since 1982, the IMD said. 

Meanwhile, a heavy rain alert is already in place in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand with warnings of flash floods. Heavy to very heavy rainfall with extremely heavy falls are very likely at isolated places over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on Tuesday.

Heavy to very heavy rains are in the books at isolated places over Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya and Bihar.

Heavy showers are on the cards at isolated places over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Odisha, East Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Konkan, Goa, Gujarat State and Coastal Karnataka.

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