More unseasonal thunderstorm, hailstorm likely in north India: IMD

Updated on Mar 27, 2020 01:27 PM IST

Rains will affect migrant labourers stranded outdoors due to the 21-day nationwide lockdown that started from Wednesday to rein in the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-21) pandemic and is likely to destroy the standing crops in the northern plains.

In total, six western disturbances have affected north-western India in March as against an average of two to three.(PTI file photo)
In total, six western disturbances have affected north-western India in March as against an average of two to three.(PTI file photo)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByJayashree Nandi

Three weather systems are affecting the north-western region simultaneously on Friday, which is likely to bring widespread snowfall and hail in the hills and thunderstorm along with hailstorm in the northern plains, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a bulletin.

Rains will affect migrant labourers stranded outdoors due to the 21-day nationwide lockdown that started from Wednesday to rein in the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-21) pandemic and is likely to destroy the standing crops in the northern plains.

In total, six western disturbances have affected north-western India in March as against an average of two to three. Unseasonal rains and hail have already destroyed potato, mustard and wheat crop in Uttar Pradesh; wheat and mustard in Haryana and Rajasthan according to Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), a farmers’ organisation.

“The combined impact of hailstorm and lockdown is massive. Wheat, which is to be harvested soon, has been destroyed in many parts because of hail and unseasonal rains. Now farmers have no access to seeds, fertilisers or mandi to sell their produce. Milk prices are also falling. The situation cannot be sustained for long,” said Dharmendra Kumar, national spokesperson, BKU.

At present three systems —a western disturbance as a cyclonic circulation over Pakistan and adjoining eastern Afghanistan, an induced cyclonic circulation over southern Pakistan and neighbourhood and another western disturbance as a cyclonic circulation over Jammu and Kashmir and adjoining northern Pakistan—are affecting northwest India, the IMD bulletin said.

The induced cyclonic circulation is likely to strengthen and move northeastwards over to central Pakistan. This will lead to snowfall, thunderstorm, hailstorm, lightning and gusty winds (at 30-40 kilometres per hour, or kmph) over the western Himalayan region (Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit and Baltistan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) from Friday to Saturday. “Scattered to fairly widespread rainfall with isolated to scattered thunderstorm, hailstorm accompanied with lightning and gusty winds (at 30-40 kmph) very likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh during the next 24 hours,” the bulletin added.

The development of a trough and moisture incursion could also lead to rain and thundershowers, hail over interior Maharashtra from March 29 to 30.

“We cannot explain why there are so many western disturbances this March. Its variability. Our monitoring is very effective and we have been able to track all feeble and active western disturbances. The maximum impact of these three weather systems will be felt on Friday,” said K Sathi Devi, head, National Weather Forecasting Centre.

“We have seen several incidences of hailstorms this March. This happens when the freezing level shifts to a lower level about a height of 2-3 metres from the ground as against the normal of 4-5km because of a western disturbance. There have been above average western disturbances this month. We can expect to see the impact of these western disturbances from Friday afternoon in the northern plains,” said Kuldeep Shrivastava, head, Regional Weather Forecasting Centre.

Hopes that maximum temperature will rise soon and slow down the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 pathogen, which causes Covid-19, in the northern region may also be dampened as maximum temperature is likely to fall again in mid-twenties—around 25 to 27 degrees Celsius—for the next couple of days in many parts of the northern plains.

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