Rain not unusual, but amount ‘unprecedented’

Rainfall that Delhi has received since the last week of August has also been attributed to the western disturbances.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | New Delhi | Published:September 7, 2014 1:46 am
Near the Tawi river in Jammu city on Saturday. The river that remains dry for most part of the year is now flowing at 20 ft, nearly 3 ft above its danger mark. (source: PTI) Near the Tawi river in Jammu city on Saturday. The river that remains dry for most part of the year is now flowing at 20 ft, nearly 3 ft above its danger mark. (source: PTI)

The amount of rainfall that Jammu and its adjoining areas have received in the last few days has been unusual, but the cause behind it is not.

During this time of the year, heavy rainfall in north and northwestern parts of India is generally a result of interactions between western disturbances and the monsoon winds. The case of Jammu is no different. The incessant heavy rainfall has been caused by two strong interactions of western disturbances with monsoon, according to weather scientists.

“Meteorologically, there is nothing unusual in what is happening in Jammu. Such interactions are common in north and northwestern parts of the country. However, the amount of rainfall is unexpected,” said D S Pai of IMD, Pune, one of the key people behind monsoon forecasts.

Western disturbances are rain-bearing winds that originate beyond Afghanistan and Iran, picking up moisture from as far as the Mediterranean Sea. The western disturbances cause frequent rainfall in Pakistan, and the north and northwest parts of India mainly during the second half of a year.

The reasonably good rainfall that Delhi has received since the last week of August has also been attributed to the western disturbances.
“We have seen such interactions resulting in heavy rainfall in Uttarakhand, even in Rajasthan. A couple of years ago, the large scale flooding in Pakistan was a result of these kind of interactions. But what we have seen in Jammu is unprecedented,” Pai said.

In the 24 hours between the morning of Friday and Saturday, Jammu received as much as 21 cm of rainfall, the maximum in the country. The adjoining Katra received 21 cm, according to the data released by the Indian Meteorological Division (IMD). Bhaderwah, Banihal and Gulmarg were the other places where very high rainfall was recorded. Almost every place in Punjab and Haryana also received high rainfall because of the same reason.

This kind of rainfall is likely to continue for another two days in J&K, Punjab and Haryana, according to IMD’s forecast.
The low pressure area built over Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, which is pulling the western disturbances as well as the monsoon winds, is likely to persist. As a result, heavy rainfall can be expected in J&K and the adjoining states at least till the first half of the coming week, after which it is likely to decrease significantly, the IMD said.

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