Wednesday, August 21, 2013

STH Stormwatch : "Hurricane" over Darjeeling (19Aug2013) and a persistent storm near Kolkata

August 2013 has seen the development of a number of low pressure areas in the Bay of Bengal, one such low was reported by IMetD on 19Aug2013 and which has since intensified into a depression.
As per IMetD report on 20Aug2013 (evening) the depression was practically stationary south of Kolkata, leading to a nightmare scenario where densely populated regions and ill trained/prepared people living therein are exposed to incessant, heavy rain.
This weather activity in the Bay definitely impacts rainfall over Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas which has seen an increase in thundershower activity over this area with moisture laden clouds continuously being pushed in from the Bay - all this happening at the end of the monsoons when the soil is saturated with water.
The "hurricane" of 19Aug2013 which pummeled Darjeeling town is typical of cumulonimbus cloud activity resulting in sharp, heavy downpours with high winds. Known details are as follows :-
a) Time of Occurrence : Approx 2130-2330h IST
b) Max wind speed recorded : 30kmph
c) Rainfall : 40mm
What is dangerous in all this is that Darjeeling district in locked in fierce political turmoil with the W Bengal State and disaster management may well be the last thing on anyone's mind.

Photo Credit : Mohan Lama,
                     The Telegraph.

Praful Rao,
Darjeeling district

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