Monday, July 31, 2023

The deluge of Delhi (08Jul- 15Jul2023): some data, maps and images

Meteorological conditions

The meteorological conditions which caused the flooding of Delhi in 2023 between 08July till approximately 15July2023 have already been described in the previous blog - the same conditions which caused landslides and destruction in Himachal Pradesh resulted in parts of Delhi getting flooded by the Yamuna river.

As a matter of fact, large parts of Himachal and the foothills of Haryana and Punjab form the watershed area for the Yamuna river and much of the storm water from these areas finally drains into the Yamuna (see map below).

Rainfall from these catchment areas which eventually led to the flooding is as follows:
The average monthly rainfall for Delhi with other associated rainfall data is given below:
The actual rainfall
CM of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal made a press statement saying that on 08/09Jul2023, Delhi had received 153mm of rain and the city's systems were "not designed to take such unprecedented rain", due to which major roads were submerged, traffic disrupted, and homes and businesses inundated.
According to officials, Delhi's outdated drainage system can handle only up to 50 mm of rainfall in 24 hours.

However, what became clear was it was not only climate change or the heavy rainfall which had caused the flooding in Delhi. It was also the release of Yamuna water from Hathnikund barrage in Haryana which caused the inordinate amounts of water to reach Delhi
Also involved was the water management of Yamuna river in the 22km that the river flowed thru Delhi. The 3 barrages which managed this is shown below
Flooded areas and satellite images
The areas which were flooded in early July 2023 were those in the vicinity of the Yamuna river in NE Delhi and also some areas for whom it was a grim first time - parts of Ring Road, Mathura road etc.
Planetscope Videos
ISBT, Kashmiri Gate, Delhi Jal Board Area
Yamuna Biodiversity Park Area

We will keep updating these inputs in the future
Update on 09Aug2023

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Monday, July 17, 2023

The deluge in NW India (08-11July2023)

Torrential rains hit many parts of NW India between 08-11Jul2023 which resulted in a disaster reminiscent of the Jun2013, Uttarakhand disaster where nearly 6000 people perished. If the meteorological conditions for this event were similar to that of Uttarakhand deluge, so were the deadly images of mountain rivers in spate, violently sweeping away everything in their path and gouging out huge parts of hillsides or the massive landslides which blocked numerous roads and isolated communities.
The IR cloud images of the event are placed below:

How and why it occurred (Business Today -10Jul2023)
The meteorological almost identical to that of the Uttarakhand disaster:
'The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday explained the reason behind the extremely heavy rainfall that has wreaked havoc in the northwestern states including Himachal, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Haryana. In an exclusive conversation with India Today, IMD chief Mrutyunjay Mohapatra on Monday said that the extremely heavy rainfall over the region was due to the confluence of monsoon winds and the western disturbance.

Western Disturbance is a low-pressure system that originates in the Mediterranean Sea and moves eastward across Central Asia. As it travels across the region, it brings changes in weather patterns, particularly in Northern India, Pakistan, and Nepal.

Mohapatra today said that currently, the monsoon is in active condition over Northwest India. "It is mainly because of the interaction with the western disturbance, which is moving across Northwest India, and strong monsoon winds approaching the same region. There is the confluence between two types of winds, and these two winds are hitting the western Himalayan region," he told IT.  

s a result of this, we are seeing enhanced rainfall activity over northwest India including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Rajasthan. And at present, it is also extending towards Western Uttar Pradesh."

The IMD chief further said that rainfall activity usually enhances when there is this type of interaction between the western disturbance and monsoon winds. "So far, the rainfall in July has been 30 per cent above the normal for the country as a whole. In the northwest, the rainfall has been 52 per cent above normal in July."

In its latest update this afternoon, the weather department said that the monsoon trough is active with its western end to the south of its normal position and eastern end to the north of its normal position. "The Western Disturbance in middle & upper tropospheric westerlies runs from north Pakistan to northeast Arabian Sea."

The Met office has predicted isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over Himachal, Uttarakhand, East Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh during the next five days. "Isolated extremely heavy rainfall also very likely over Himachal Pradesh on 10th July. Isolated heavy rainfall is also likely over Delhi today
and decrease thereafter," the department said.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Monday said that his state has not witnessed such "widespread heavy rains" in the past 50 years. He also said that Himachal has suffered a loss of about Rs 3,000 crore in this monsoon season so far. About 17 persons have died in rain-related incidents in the state in the past two days, he said.

Due to heavy rainfall, nearly 400 tourists and locals were stranded at Chandertal and between Pagal and Teilgi nallah in Lahaul and Spiti. The chief minister said the efforts were on to rescue them. He also said that bridges were broken in Baddi, Kullu, and Una, and the Largi power project in Kullu was submerged in water'

For this event, the warnings were in place.
Rainfall data
Media coverage
Maps of rivers

Local media reports
Major landslide reports as on 12Jul2023
Two images

At last count the number of fatalities was 108 and the financial loss incurred was over
Rs 4000/- crore
Satellite images of the deluge

Update from Akshima (Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh)



Relentless rains throughout North India left a trail of destruction, loss and despair. Himachal Pradesh nestled in the lap of western Himalayas suffered from nature’s fury as heavy rainfall turned into flashfloods and landslides, wreaking havoc on lives and landscapes alike.

The year has witnessed a horrendous monsoon season thus far, the consequences of which were devastating, impacting the lives of countless people and causing widespread destruction of property. Tragically the calamity claimed the lives of 122 people, 17 people are still missing and several are injured. The total loss this monsoon in HP has touched Rs. 5,077.41 crore in which Jal Shakti Vibhag suffered a loss of Rs.1448.44 crores, PWD Rs. 1666.58 crores, Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board (HPSEBL) Rs. 1482.72 crores and Horticulture Rs.144.88 crores.

The fury of the floods and landslides was not confined to infrastructure alone. Homes were swept away, leaving families shattered and without shelter.


Flashfloods and landslides triggered by heavy downpours have resulted in the collapse of bridges and the damage of numerous roads, severely impacting vehicular movements and connectivity. From washed-away bridges to sinking highways, the after-effects of these relentless rains have posed significant challenges to transportation and raised concerns about the region's infrastructure development and resilience to natural calamities.

· 15 Bridges have been washed away and 34 substantially damaged in flashfloods triggered by heavy rains in past 15 days, snapping vehicular movements in several parts of the state. Most of the bridges have been washed away in the Mandi and Kullu circle of the Public Works Department.

· The number of damaged roads has gone past 1000 with 566 yet to be restored to traffic.

· Even before the official inauguration of the Kiratpur Manali National Highway NH-03, huge portion of the road between Mandi and Manali have been damaged due to the recent floods. Around 16 km of the road stretch was damaged at different locations between Mandi and Manali, where the construction work was completed by the NHAI. Few stretches of road have been washed away completely away by the flooded Beas. There is no place in the national highway where landslides have not occurred, debris has fallen in many places. People are raising questions on development of four lane highway as the reason behind the landslides.

· DC Kullu Ashutosh Garg advised NHAI to resurvey the area from Manali to kullu and to take concrete measures to protect the road during floods and to realign the highway in flood prone areas.

· A key road leading to the Dagshai Cantonment from Dosarka on the National Highway (NH-5) has caved in at several places after heavy rain. As a result, travelling on the road has become risky for school buses, Army trucks, and heavy vehicles, besides local residents which use the road to travel to Dharampur, Kasauli and Chandigarh.

· Due to heavy rain, a landside occurred on the Rohanat road, blocking the Shimla-Shillai Road.

· Amid heavy rainfall in HP the two roads linking Dharamshala to Mcleodganj have started sinking at several places. One road is already shut. And the main road has suffered major damage following a landslide. Geologists have been warning about Mcleodganj Hill being prone to landslides. However, these have been ignored by the local authorities as construction have been allowed, aggravating the situation. The geologists from central university of Himachal Pradesh have been maintaining the upper crust of hills in the Mcleodganj area comprises loose soil and crushed stones. Such crusts are prone to landslides if there is lack of proper drainage. Water seeping into upper crust makes the soil very heavy and prone to landslides. However, no project has been conceived to ensure proper drainage on the Mcleodganj hill.

· A stretch of NH 5 Parwaanoo Dharampur national highway was damaged due to heavy rains. Huge cracks have appeared on the roads and many stretches continue to sink at many places.

· Paonta Sahib – Shilai NH707 was obstructed as 150m part of it was destroyed. As a result, 60

panchayats lost connection to Paonta Sahib.



· Cracks appeared in 20 houses following a flashflood and landslide incident at Khodaage

Village in Garsa valley of Kullu district.

· In Solan 6 houses destroyed due the landslide in the region, many houses got cracks resulting in people to evacuate and leave. 150 families were homeless and sudden hike in the room rents was seen amid the calamity.

· Floods washed away 600 families houses in Kullu, and many hotels and commercials were swept away by the flood.

· Flash flood is a specific type of flood that occurs in a short time frame after the precipitation event. It is caused by heavy or excessive rainfall generally in less than six hours. India has recorded 40% rise in flashfloods over three years.
2020- 132
2021- 145
2022- 184

· Relief efforts have been mobilized to aid the affected communities. The Central government has allocated 361 crores from the National Disaster Response Fund to provide crucial assistance to those grappling with the aftermath of the natural disaster.

· As part of the relief package, interim compensation of Rs. 1 lakh each is being offered for damaged properties, providing some respite for those who have lost their homes. Additionally, the compensation for the loss of milch cattle such as cows and buffaloes has been increased from Rs. 37,500 to Rs. 55,000, offering support to those whose livelihoods have been severely impacted.

· Amidst the turmoil, numerous relief camps have been set up to accommodate and assist the displaced residents of Kullu and Mandi, providing essential shelter, food, and medical aid tothose in need.

· The calamity has also brought forth the spirit of philanthropy, with many individuals and organizations stepping forward to extend their support to the affected communities. Their contributions, both big and small, have been instrumental in providing much-needed relief and hope during these tough times.



· This year, due to the change in weather, heavy rains, hailstorms, cloudbursts and late snowfall apple production has declined.

· Kinnaur flashflood leaves orchards damaged. Orchards and agricultural land are full of debris and several big apple trees have been uprooted.

· Due to adverse weather, the quality of apples is also likely to be affected this year.

· Harish Chauhan, convener of Sanyukt Kisan Manch said, “The government agencies need to study the changing weather patterns and its impact on apple and need to employ suitable technology to mitigate the impact of adverse climate conditions on apple production. The production decline is even though the area under cultivation has increased from 1,01,485 hectares in 2010 to 1,14,646 hectares in 2020.”



· In the first six months of this year, Himachal Pradesh recorded 1.06 crore tourists, which is the highest as compared to last five years. However, tourist footfall witnessed a sharp decline this month due to the heavy rains that led to flashfloods and landslides.

· NDRF and India Army Successfully evacuated Nearly 70,000 Tourists Stranded in Himachal Floods.

· A large number of tourists were struck in various parts of Kullu and Lahaul following landslides and flash floods leading to blocking of roads. They were being lodged in hotels, rest houses, home stays and other holiday destinations.

· 99% of the July bookings were cancelled. To return to the track of tourism it will take 3 months. As Himachal Pradesh grapples with the aftermath of this natural calamity, it is crucial to address the challenges faced by the people, infrastructure, and the tourism and agricultural sectors. This article delves into the multifaceted impact of the disaster, shedding light on the urgent need for coordinated efforts in relief, rehabilitation, and measures to safeguard against future calamities.

Praful Rao

Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya
with help from
Ms Akshima
Himachal Pradesh