Maha faces flood and drought at same time

Namrata Devikar
Sunday, 11 August 2019

Multiple weather activities resulted in good rains in some parts of the State, but some are still facing drought

Though the start of the southwest Monsoon this season was sluggish, it not only picked up pace by the end of June but has also given a record breaking rainfall in various parts of Maharashtra. However, the rainfall remains uneven for different parts of the State posing challenges of droughts as well as floods in front of the administration.

Parts of Central Maharashtra like Ahmednagar, Dhule, Jalgaon, Kolhapur, Nandurbar, Nashik, Sangli, Pune, Satara districts have recorded large excess of rainfall between June 1 to August 8.

Pune district haS recorded 138 per cent excess rainfall, followed by Nashik, which has reported 92 per cent excess rainfall. Whereas, Satara has reported 78 per cent excess rainfall and Kolhapur has reported 70 per cent excess rainfall for the monsoon season so far. Sangli has also reported 60 per cent excess rainfall. 

Due to excess rainfall and swelling of rivers, Nashik, Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara and Pune have also reported floods and many casualties due to the same. 

But in the same region of Central Maharashtra, Solpaur has reported 38 per cent rainfall deficiency for the season so far with only 139.4 mm rainfall in total. Lack of rainfall has resulted in drought like situation in this district even in the month of August.

 Yet, central Maharashtra overall is at 68 per cent excess rainfall and surpassed Konkan and Goa as well in terms of good rains.

Till August 8, Konkan and Goa had reported a 50 per cent excess rainfall. Mumbai city, suburban Mumbai, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Palghar and Thane districts have witnessed record breaking rainfall during this monsoon season. With severe water logging and swelling of rivers, these regions also witnessed disruptions of normal life this time. 

Vidarbha has recorded three per cent rainfall deficiency for the season so far, that is between June 1 to August 8. Only Yavatmal, Washim and Gondia districts have deficient rainfall in the region. But with good rains expected in the coming days, this deficiency is expected to be reduced further. 

However, the threat of extended drought still looms over Marathwada, which has reported 15 per cent rainfall deficiency for the season.

With already scarce water in Beed, Jalna, Latur and Parbhani, the southwest monsoon as well has not given respite to the people, as till August 8, these districts remain rainfall deficient in the region. 

Only Aurangabad has received rainfall, which is equal to the normal rainfall. But districts like Hingoli, Nanded and Osmanabad, despite falling in the normal rainfall range, have a large rainfall deficiency to fill in order to address the water scarcity. 

Why the State witnessed exceptionally good rains?
Speaking about the monsoon, Anupam Kashyapi, head of weather at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune, said that Arabian sea side of the monsoon was strong all along. 

“It was strong because firstly, there was a presence of packed isobars from Goa to North Konkan, which created a pressure gradient. To add to this, there were constant strong westerlies winds bringing moisture to Konkan and Goa and central Maharashtra. Time to time, there also was a mid tropospheric cyclonic (MTC) circulation over north Konkan to south Gujarat. When MTC was not present, in north Arabian sea near North Konkan coast, there was an upper air circulation,” said Kashyapi.

He further added that from south Gujarat to Bay of Bengal, there was from time to time presence of trough line.

“A trough line is an  extended low pressure area line. These are the major reasons why the Arabian sea line was always active over Konkan and Goa and central Maharashtra,” said Kashyapi. He further added that typical orography of Konkan and Goa and central Maharashtra majorly in ghat areas resulted in good rainfall this time.

“Three times, there were low pressure areas in the Bay of Bengal and most of them had westerly movements, which resulted in good rainfall in Vidarbha and Marathwada. Moreover, there was tilting of monsoon trough towards south, which helped northern parts of the State to get good moisture. This season, there were times when central Maharashtra and Marathwada had upper air cyclonic circulation, which affected the southern part of our State. Overall, some system was constantly present, which translated into rains this season,” said Kashyapi.

Across the country
With floods in almost 8 states in the country, namely Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Bihar, Odisha and Assam, a big challenge lies in front of the administration. 

Though some areas in the region east and north east India are having floods, the region overall has 13 per cent rainfall deficiency. However, rainfall data suggests that there still is a looming threat of drought in Jharkhand.

Similarly, northwest India has 9 per cent rainfall deficiency and only east Rajasthan has reported excess rainfall in the region.

Only Central India has reported excess rainfall by nine per cent between June 1 to August 8. And peninsular India has reported three per cent rainfall deficiency for the season. A total of two per cent rainfall deficiency is recorded over the country between June 1 to August 8.

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