Friday, May 27, 2016

STH activities (May2016) : Landslide protection work thru MPLADS and donating tanks to a parched village for water storage

STH had applied for approx Rs 15lakhs from MPLADS for landslide protection work at Bhamey Gaon, a village in Sindebung GP, Kalimpong. The village has been featured in this blog many times. We met Shri Jaswant Singh Hon MP Darjeeling in May 2013 (see here) to seek funds from MPLADS for the work.
Though the project took time to be implemented, river training work (slides 1 & 2 above) to check erosion by a particularly virulent jhora (mountain stream) has been completed at Bhamey Gaon. The work was executed by local contractors under the supervision of BDO Kalimpong -1.
We hope that this work will help mitigate the landslide problem of Sindebung in a small way.

STH had toured areas in Bara Bhalukhop during this parched summer to check water availability in rural areas and had visited Thakuri Gaon (see here)
We had promised the villagers two 500L water storage tanks to store water from the trickle that came in from 2 springs. On 24May2016, we delivered the tanks and a coil of plastic pipes to the village, the tanks will benefit 4 households of that village who will have stored water available for domestic use.

Praful Rao,
Dist Darjeeling

Our deep thanks to Shri Jaswant Singh, Hon MP of Darjeeling in 2013, who made the MPLADS work possible.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

STH activities: sensitizing the Community about Cyclone 'Roanu' in the local news today

Since many people of this region were unaware about the cyclone, we had a report on Cyclone 'Roanu' published in Himalaya Darpan along with the track of the storm. Himalaya Darpan is a Nepali language newspaper which commands the largest readership amongst the local people here.
Briefly the report states that the yesterday's rainfall was not due to the SW monsoons which was still a fortnight away but due to a cyclone. We asked the community to be alert in case of possible heavy rain and ensuing landslides.

Praful Rao,
Dist Darjeeling

Friday, May 20, 2016

STH Stormwatch : Updated forecast tracks/position of Cyclone 'Roanu' from 3 sources

UK Met office

Updated position on 21May2016

Updated position of Cyclone Roanu at 1500h with track predictions from Bangladesh Met Office

Praful Rao,
Dist Darjeeling

Thursday, May 19, 2016

STH Stormwatch (Update) : Cyclone "Roanu" is born.

IMetD has officially upgraded the status of the deep depression in the Bay of Bengal to Cyclone "Roanu" as of 0530hrs IST on 19May2016. The word "Roanu" means "coir rope" in Maldivian (Dhivehi).

Rohan Rao,
Dist Darjeeling. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

STH Stormwatch : Updated forecast tracks from JTWC (18May2016)


I have inserted rainfall data of Tamil Nadu (above)

Praful Rao
Dist Darjeeling

STH Stormwatch (Update) : Storm tracks from JTWC and UK Met Office


Update on 18May2015 (Midday)
IMD has upgraded its category of the storm from 'Depression' to 'Deep Depression'

Link to JTWC image
Link to UK Met office storm tracker
Link to IMD Weather Warning

Praful Rao,
Dist Darjeeling 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

STH Stormwatch (Updates) : The well marked low pressure area concentrates into a depression

Yesterday's well marked low has concentrated into a depression situated approx 240km SSE of Chennai. The system is likely to move NNW during next 12 hours and northwards thereafter along north Tamil Nadu and south Coastal Andhra Pradesh coast and likely to further intensify into a Deep Depression during next 48hrs - IMD
Update1 (All India Weather Inference of IMD- Evening).
The system is likely to move NNW towards north Tamil Nadu­/south Andhra Pradesh coast and further intensify into a deep depression during next 24 hours.
The system is likely to be close to Chennai during morning hours of 18May. It will move northwards and then recurve NNE and may intensify into a cyclonic storm during subsequent 24 hours.
(Italics are mine)

Praful Rao
Dist Darjeeling

Monday, May 16, 2016

Onset of SouthWest Monsoon 2016.

 Forecast of the Onset Date of Southwest Monsoon - 2016 over Kerala (Excerpts)
1. Background
The onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala signals the arrival of monsoon over the Indian subcontinent and represents beginning of rainy season over the region. The normal monsoon onset over Kerala is 01 June. Since 2005, India Meteorological Department (IMD) has been issuing operational forecasts for the date of monsoon onset over Kerala using an indigenously developed statistical model with a model error of ± 4 days.
The forecasts of the monsoon onset issued during the past 11 years (2005-2015) except 2015 were proved to be correct. 
2. Advance of monsoon over the Andaman Sea
The southwest monsoon advances over the Andaman Sea normally around 20th May with a standard deviation of about one week. Strong convective activity has been observed over the equatorial Indian Ocean for the last several days. A well marked low pressure area has formed over the Indian Ocean which will concentrate into a depression and move north-westwards. As a result, conditions are becoming favorable for the onset of southwest monsoon over Nicobar Islands, south Andaman Sea and parts of south Bay of Bengal around 17th May and advancement over the entire Andaman Sea close to its normal date. Past data suggest that there is no association of the date of monsoon advance over the Andaman Sea either with the date of monsoon onset over Kerala or with the seasonal monsoon rainfall over the country.
3. Forecast for the 2016 Monsoon Onset over Kerala
The statistical model forecast suggests that the monsoon onset over Kerala in this year is likely to be slightly delayed. The southwest monsoon is likely to set over Kerala on 7th June with a model error of ± 4 days.
Read full article here

Praful Rao,
Darjeeling district

Sunday, May 15, 2016

STH Stormwatch (2016) :- First Low Pressure Area (LOPAR) of the year forms in the Bay (and updates)

Excerpt of IMD Weather Inference of 14May2016 (Night)
"A low pressure area has formed over equatorial Indian Ocean and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal. It is likely to become well marked low pressure area and further concentrate into a depression during next 48 hours."

Websites and Links for watching/tracking severe weather  
1. Satellite images from IMD : IR and other images are available from IMD including animations. The images are updated every 30mins.
2. Cyclones in the Northern Indian Ocean :- see here
3. JTWC for tracks and images :- see here
4. Updated IR Imagery for aviation :- click on ICAO Area 'E' 
5. Worldwide Lightning location network :- Indicates lightning ie severe weather locations
6. STH stormwatch ie this blog.

Update 1 (15May2016- evening)
The above system has concentrated into a well marked LOPAR. It is likely to move northwestwards, become a deep depression and cross the Tamil Nadu coast between around 17May2016 (morning) - source

Praful Rao,
Dist Darjeeling

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Premonsoon Preparedness meeting at Darjeeling with the WB State IAG (11May2016)

NGOs represented : Anugyalaya, World Vision, FOSEP, DLR Prerna, SaveTheHills, CASA, MARG and EWSCT reps were present during the meeting at Anugyalaya DSSS office in Darjeeling. The West Bengal State IAG was represented by the Coordinator, Mr D Chakravorty.
Decisions :-
a. A decision was taken to resuscitate the Darjeeling IAG. Anugyalaya member Mr Arpan E Rai would be responsible for all contacting members and handling all correspondence for the time being. STH would taken on a consultative role.
b. Member of Darjeeling IAG would to the extent possible give their inputs for updating the WB State Disaster Management Plan 2017.
c. NDRF would undertake training of local volunteers at the block level in Darjeeling district, starting Jun2016. NGOs were requested to organize volunteers.
d. Darjeeling IAG with funding from WB State Disaster Management Dept would organize a National Level Seminar on 'Landslides and Earthquakes' in Oct2016. GTA would be requested to participate.
e. School safety programmes and mock drills would also commence in Darjeeling district in the near future.

Praful Rao,
Dist Darjeeling

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Rainfall data of April 2016 for the Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya

April 2016 was a bone dry month for much of the Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya.
The precipitation that occurred was the result of western disturbances moving in from west to east at latitudes north of Darjeeling - Kalimpong axis. Hence the fact that Gangtok and North Sikkim had more than normal (123.7mm) rain whereas South/West Sikkim and Darjeeling district as a whole had deficient rainfall.
This deficiency resulted in major problems in the agriculture sector as well as caused severe shortage of potable water in Darjeeling district and South/West districts of Sikkim.
There were no landslides during this period.

Praful Rao,
Dist Darjeeling