With the year 2017 giving way to New Year the COMK team wishes all its well wishers a Happy and Prosperous New Year. The last couple of years we have been trying to provide a review of how the year went by from the weather perspective. This review is no way a complete capture of how 2017 passed by but just a few highlights which needs a mention.
If 2017 was to be reviewed from weather perspective it could be called the “Pendulum Year”. The early part of the year saw drought conditions hit most parts of Peninsular India an effect of one of the worst Northeast Monsoons in nearly 140 years.
While off season rainfall during early part of the year though was better than many years it simply not compensate for the disastrous Northeast Monsoon 2016. The reservoir levels across the state reached dead storage level as the overall water storage slumped to its lowest in many decades.
North Tamil Nadu which was already reeling under drought conditions saw one of the worst summers as well to add misery to the conditions during second half of May. North Tamil Nadu & South Andhra Pradesh saw heat wave conditions prevail as many places saw near continuous 40s for nearly a week. Tiruttani saw temperatures in excess of 44°C for 6 straight days as Northwesterlies scorched the region.
With Southwest Monsoon making its onset in advance much was expected from it after lesser than normal 2016. Southwest Monsoon started well with June & July was well above normal. This period also saw many parts of the country also receive extreme rainfall events. Mt. Abu saw nearly 200 cms rainfall in 4 days time leading to floods in the region.
We mentioned about “Pendulum Year” in our opening remarks. Second half of Southwest Monsoon swung the other way with long break period happening during August & September. This coincided with the period of the active thunderstorm season over Tamil Nadu bringing much relief.
Not only Tamil Nadu immensely benefited from the thunderstorms during poor Southwest Monsoon conditions South Int. Karnataka also saw excess rains during this period leading to very good inflows into dams like Mettur, Krishnagiri PRP, Sathanur etc. Rivers like Pennaiyar, Palar saw very good inflow courtesy these rains.
This break in monsoon period played a very crucial role in Bengaluru recording highest annual rainfall in 115 years, finally ending up at 170 cms against the annual average of 92 cms. Ironically this year has seen Bengaluru record more rains than Chennai which does not happen often.
2017 also saw a very active Atlantic Ocean that churned out hurricane after hurricane during September as parts of Texas, Florida bore impacts from first direct landfall of a major hurricane (Cat. 3 & above) after a decade. Parts of Puerto Rico is still without electricity nearly 4 months after Maria landfall as Hurricane Irma & Hurricane Maria rendered many Caribbean Islands uninhabitable for days if not months
The final highlight is an event that could possibly scar the thoughts of thousands of fishermen for all of their lives. Cyclone Ockhi which brushed the coast of Kanyakumari coming as close as nearly 50 kms on 30th November morning. Defying all odds and strengthening rapidly close to the coast for nearly 48 hours it held most parts of South TN & South Kerala hostage.
To complete the Pendulum Year Inference the rainfall pattern after Cyclone Ockhi pretty much wound down without even a whimper. The entire Northeast Monsoon season was a Yo Yo – super power play (onset) – dry middle innings – Blazing Batting Power Play (Cyclone Ockhi) – quick wicket fall during end of innings (dry period since Ockhi)