Lightening seen during sudden rain, at Connaught Place, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, March 5, 2020.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Lightening seen during sudden rain, at Connaught Place, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, March 5, 2020.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Intense western disturbance to bring thunderstorm: IMD

Scientists are expecting it to be one of the most intense western disturbances seen so far this year, and add that it will bring widespread snowfall to the hills and rain to the plains.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Jayashree Nandi
UPDATED ON MAR 06, 2020 07:25 AM IST

Delhi, the National Capital Region, and parts of the northern plains could see thunderstorms and gusty winds starting Thursday night and lasting till Saturday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Scientists are expecting it to be one of the most intense western disturbances seen so far this year, and add that it will bring widespread snowfall to the hills and rain to the plains.

IMD has also forecast another western disturbance that will closely follow -- the third this month and the twenty-second this year -- which is likely to impact the northern region from the night of March 10. Western disturbances are storms that originate over the Mediterranean region and which typically hit India in winter, bringing rain.

“Thunderstorms are likely to hit the region from Thursday to Saturday. It will peak on Friday afternoon. Wind speed likely to reach 50 km/hr. Trees and hoardings may get damaged,” private weather forecaster Skymet Weather alerted on Thursday.

The western disturbance is currently over south-west Afghanistan. Under its influence, an induced low pressure area has formed over south-west Rajasthan. In addition, there is high moisture feeding from Arabian Sea at lower and mid tropospheric levels over north-west India, IMD’s Thursday bulletin said.

Under the influence of the disturbance, there will likely be widespread rain and snow over the Western Himalayan region till March 7, including in Jammu and Kashmir; Gilgit-Baltistan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Moderate to heavy rainfall is likely over Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh on March 5 and 6.

“Rain and thunderstorms are likely to affect Delhi NCR on Thursday night and reach peak intensity on Friday. There is already widespread snowfall in the western Himalayas. Another western disturbance is likely to impact from Tuesday evening which is also Holi, but that may not be as intense as the present one,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president, climate change and meteorology at Skymet Weather.

“We are expecting hailstorms and very strong winds gusting up to 40 to 50 km/hour in parts of Delhi. On Wednesday, there were hailstorms in many parts of Haryana and Rajasthan,” said Kuldeep Shrivastava, head of Regional Weather Forecasting Centre, IMD.

Both Jaipur and Lucknow saw significant hailstorms.

There were 10 western disturbances in January and nine in February and two so far in March. Usually there are two to three western disturbances in January and February. Scientists are linking the unusually high number of disturbances this winter and spring to the polar vortex. The polar vortex is an area of low pressure and extremely cold air surrounding the North and South poles.

“The large scale cyclonic activity associated with the polar vortex can trigger different circulation patterns towards the lower latitudes. Storms in the UK this winter have also been linked to the polar vortex,” explained RK Jenamani, senior scientist at National Weather Forecasting Centre adding that the exact link between the two is still being established.

DS Pai, senior scientist at IMD Pune, said: “Yes, polar vortex has an impact because mid latitude westerlies can trigger disturbances here.” IMD added that the current disturbance could also affect central and east India.

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