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Jan 2020 rainfall a 47-year high, reveals IMD data

By Sonali Verma
PUBLISHED ON JAN 29, 2020 09:18 PM IST

January 2020 has recorded the highest amount of rainfall for the month over the last 47 years, according to data available with the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Following a spell of light rain on Tuesday, the total amount of rainfall this month touched 44.6mm and is the highest January rainfall since 1973, when 55mm rainfall was recorded at the IMD’s Palam observatory. On Tuesday, 3.4mm rainfall was recorded at the observatory.

The average amount of rainfall that the Palam observatory, which is the closest manual weather observatory to Gurugram, receives in January is 16.3mm, said IMD officials.

The last time a January-high rainfall was recorded was in 2017, when the city received 41.7mm rainfall, as per the IMD data. The IMD’s Safdarjung observatory also recorded an excessive rainfall of 164% this month, with the total amounting to 48.1mm.

According to meteorologists, the excess rainfall this month is a result of higher than usual western disturbances. January usually witnesses around three western disturbances, said experts. However, this year, seven western disturbances affected the weather in the National Capital Region (NCR). Four of these western disturbances were active in Gurugram and caused rainfall.

A western disturbance is a storm originating in the Mediterranean region that brings winter rain to the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent.

“The recent western disturbance that caused rain on Tuesday was an active one. Two back-to-back disturbances in mid-January (around 16th) also led to good rain,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the regional forecasting centre at the IMD, New Delhi.

He said that in January 2019 too, the NCR had received excess rainfall. Palam had recorded 34.7mm rainfall last January. “In January 2019 too, the number of western disturbances — five — that hit the region were higher than usual,” said Srivastava, adding that it is difficult to predict the number of disturbances.

Last year, an unusually high number of western disturbances were witnessed in the region and these lasted till March. A western disturbance between March 2 and 3 last year was the 15th of the season, while the region, on an average, witnesses five to six western disturbances in winter.

However, weather experts said it’s likely that the disturbances will last at least till the end of February. “No weather systems that cause rainfall are likely to develop in the next one week. However, later in February, western disturbances can form and cause rain in NCR,” an IMD spokesperson said.

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