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What Is Cloudburst And What Makes It Difficult To Predict All You Need To Know From Experts

News Desk, Amar Ujala, New Delhi

Published by: Gaurav Pandey
Updated Wed, 28 Jul 2021 09:20 PM IST

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Summary

Amid cloudburst incidents in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, experts on Wednesday said the disaster is difficult to predict as it is mostly a local phenomenon and occurs in hilly areas.

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If a mountainous place receives more than 10 cm of rain in an hour, it is called a cloudburst. The spill of water in huge quantities not only causes huge damage to property but also takes a toll on human lives. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), says that cloudburst is a very small scale phenomenon and it occurs mostly in the mountainous areas of Himalayas or Western Ghats. According to Mohapatra, when the warm monsoon winds meet with the cold winds, they form large clouds. It is also due to topography or geographical factors.

According to a report by news agency PTI, Mahesh Palawat, Vice President (Meteorology and Climate) at Skymet Weather, says that such clouds are called cumulonimbus and they can stretch up to 13-14 kilometers in height. If these clouds get stuck over an area or there is no wind, then they rain there. M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, says that it seems that the incidence of cloudburst is increasing. Apart from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, there have been incidents of cloudburst in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh this month.

According to an explainer on the IMD website, “cloud bursts are difficult to predict because they occur on a very small scale in terms of space and time.” To monitor this or provide immediate information, we would need a very dense radar network in areas where such events are frequent or we have a very high resolution weather forecasting model. It has been told in this explainer that the incidents of cloudburst also happen in the plains. But, due to some geographical factors, such incidents occur more in mountainous areas.

Mohapatra says that cloudburst cannot be predicted, but we do give an alert of very heavy rain. Talking about Himachal, here we had issued a red alert. Kamaljit Ray, a senior meteorologist working in the Ministry of Earth Sciences, says that many cloudburst incidents go undetected because it is not necessary that every place where such an event has an automatic weather station. Apart from this, another major reason is that these events happen for a very short time period. This is not a normal weather phenomenon, it causes damage to property as well as endangers lives of people.

Doppler radar can prove to be effective in forecasting
Although cloud burst events are difficult to predict, Doppler radars can prove to be of great help in this work. But radar may not be present in every area, especially in the Himalayan region. On 23 July, Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha that there are seven Doppler radars in the Himalayan region. Of these, two are in Jammu and Kashmir (Sonamarg and Srinagar), two in Uttarakhand (Kufri and Mukteshwar), one in Assam (Mohanbari), one in Meghalaya (Sohri) and one in Tripura (Agartala). NOC (No Objection Certificate) is awaited from the state government for two more Doppler radars in Himachal Pradesh.

Expansion

If a mountainous place receives more than 10 cm of rain in an hour, it is called a cloudburst. The spill of water in huge quantities not only causes huge damage to property but also takes a toll on human lives. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), says that cloudburst is a very small scale phenomenon and it occurs mostly in the mountainous areas of Himalayas or Western Ghats. According to Mohapatra, when the warm monsoon winds meet with the cold winds, they form large clouds. It is also due to topography or geographical factors.

According to a report by news agency PTI, Mahesh Palawat, Vice President (Meteorology and Climate) at Skymet Weather, says that such clouds are called cumulonimbus and they can stretch up to 13-14 kilometers in height. If these clouds get stuck over an area or there is no wind, then they rain there. M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, says that it seems that the incidence of cloudburst is increasing. Apart from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, there have been incidents of cloudburst in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh this month.

According to an explainer on the IMD website, “cloud bursts are difficult to predict because they occur on a very small scale in terms of space and time.” To monitor this or provide immediate information, we would need a very dense radar network in areas where such events are frequent or we have a very high resolution weather forecasting model. It has been told in this explainer that the incidents of cloudburst also happen in the plains. But, due to some geographical factors, such incidents occur more in mountainous areas.

Mohapatra says that cloudburst cannot be predicted, but we do give an alert of very heavy rain. Talking about Himachal, here we had issued a red alert. Kamaljit Ray, a senior meteorologist working in the Ministry of Earth Sciences, says that many cloudburst incidents go undetected because it is not necessary that every place where such an event has an automatic weather station. Apart from this, another major reason is that these events happen for a very short time period. This is not a normal weather phenomenon, it causes damage to property as well as endangers lives of people.

Doppler radar can prove to be effective in forecasting

Although cloud burst events are difficult to predict, Doppler radars can prove to be of great help in this work. But radar may not be present in every area, especially in the Himalayan region. On 23 July, Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha that there are seven Doppler radars in the Himalayan region. Of these, two are in Jammu and Kashmir (Sonamarg and Srinagar), two in Uttarakhand (Kufri and Mukteshwar), one in Assam (Mohanbari), one in Meghalaya (Sohri) and one in Tripura (Agartala). NOC (No Objection Certificate) is awaited from the state government for two more Doppler radars in Himachal Pradesh.

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