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Excess rain marks winter season: IMD

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByJayashree Nandi
Feb 07, 2020 05:31 AM IST

The November rain in northwest India was the highest since 1951, and many stations made new rainfall records, according to IMD’s climate diagnostics bulletin.

This winter was unusually wet and cold, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which also said that northwest and central India reported significantly high rainfall between October and January.

The November rain in northwest India was the highest since 1951, and many stations made new rainfall records, according to IMD’s climate diagnostics bulletin. These include Barmer and Churu in Rajasthan; Canning in West Bengal; and Kukernag, Kupwara, Srinagar and Baderwah in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Three intense low-pressure systems (two depressions and one cyclonic storm named Pawan) formed over the Arabian Sea in December, which is a record for the month since 1891, according to the bulletin.

The northern plains and adjoining central India experienced unusual cold day conditions during the second half of December. Maximum temperature over northwest India was 17.5 degrees Celsius, 3.2 degrees below normal and the second lowest since 1901. The cold spell killed 57 people in north India mainly between December 27 and 30.

Rains were way above normal in the winter months because of an unusually high number of western disturbances (WDs) affecting the northwestern region from November, according to experts.

“We have had at least nine intense WDs since November 3 with most cyclonic circulations forming over southwest Rajasthan and adjoining Pakistan. The frequency and intensity of WDs also was very high this winter,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president, climate change and meteorology, Skymet Weather. “The total rainfall received in western Rajasthan may not be very high because the normal rainfall expected during this season is minuscule but it’s unusual for the region. High rainfall recorded in central India is unseasonal also.”

M Mohapatra, director general, IMD, said: “We had 10 western disturbances in January alone. The northeast monsoon season was also very active. It’s a cumulative impact.”

K Sathi Devi, head of national weather forecasting centre, said: “Rainfall has been particularly high this winter mainly because of several weather systems impacting the region. There were cyclones over the Arabian Sea in October and November which brought good rains to the peninsular and western region. On an average, only one cyclone is expected over the Arabian Sea annually. Then there have been nine to 10 western disturbances with some very intense ones since January which also brought rain to the northwestern and central region. It’s too early to say if high frequency and intensity of weather systems is because of climate change. We have to see if this was a one off winter.”

Over the Arabian Sea, cyclone Kyarr formed on October 4 and affected Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa; Maha formed around October 30 and turned into an extremely severe cyclonic storm; and cyclonic storm Pawan formed around December 2.

The northwestern region received 302% excess rains in November while central India received 99% excess rains in October, according to IMD data. In January, northwest and central India received 70% and 84% excess rains, respectively.

Western Rajasthan, which is among the country’s most arid regions, received 145% excess rains in October, 837% excess rains in November, 73% excess rains in December, and 159% excess rains in January.

Rainfall over the country was 44% excess in October, 3% excess in November, 10% excess in December and 46% excess in January, the weather department said.

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