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Understanding cloud burst

The cloudburst is a localised weather phenomena representing highly concentrated rainfall over a small area lasting for few hours. This leads to flash floods/ landslides, house collapse, dislocation of traffic and human casualties on large scale.

india Updated: Aug 06, 2010 17:14 IST
Bhartesh Singh Thakur

What is cloud burst?

The cloudburst is a localised weather phenomena representing highly concentrated rainfall over a small area lasting for few hours. This leads to flash floods/ landslides, house collapse, dislocation of traffic and human casualties on large scale.

How does it happen?

Various researches suggest that they are manifestations of intense vortices on small scale that generate strong convection currents, which lift the moisture laden air with sufficient rapidity to form cumulonimbus clouds shedding water load with great strength and ferocity.

Why are the hilly areas more prone to cloud burst?

The topographical conditions like steep hills favour the formation of these clouds. And also the devastations, as water flowing down the steep slopes bring debris, boulders and uprooted trees with great velocity damaging any structure that comes in their way.

Can it be predicted?

There is no satisfactory technique for anticipating the occurrence of cloud bursts because of their small scale. A very fine net work of radars is required to be able to detect the likelihood of a cloud burst and this would be prohibitively expensive. Only the areas likely to receive heavy rainfall can be identified on a short range scale. Much of the damage can be avoided by way of identifying the areas and the meteorological situations that favour the occurrence of cloud bursts.