A COMK review of 2016 Weather events in India

COMK wishes all its wellwishers a Happy and Prosperous New Year

In a sequel to our earlier post highlighting the global weather events of 2016, here is our review of the Weather Events of 2016 in India.  As was the case with our global post this is just to give a perspective as weather bloggers and is not a complete review of all the events that captured the imagination of the people.

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On the back of the El Nino which peaked during December / January 2016 the winter went missing in most parts of North India as temperatures stayed well above normal for majority of the time.  Add to it the absence of Western Disturbances during the period meant the winter rains were poor leading to Rabi Crops getting affected in many parts of the country.

The early part of the year also set the tone for the scorching summer that followed with initially places in Peninsular India setting new records for hottest days during April.  Mangalore, Kannur, Kottayam Bangalore, Dharmapuri and Kozhikode recorded their hottest days ever during this spell. Palakkad scorched to 41.9 degrees on 26th April making it one of the few occasions when a place in Kerala crossed 40 degrees of recorded temperature. North India awaited its turn until May as Phalodi in Rajasthan recorded 51.0°C on 19th May 2016 making it the highest ever validated temperature recorded in India since meteorological observations began from the British time. On the same day neighbouring Churu also scored a half century clocking its highest temperatures.

In a monsoon year that saw lesser than average rainfall August saw River Ganga touch record levels in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar as most of the Ganga basin was flooded with places like Allahabad seeing flooding in areas never seen earlier in the city.  Similarly Gandhighat in Patna recorded water flow at its highest level since 1994. It was during this early part of August is when Mahableshwar recorded about 150 cms of rains in less than a week leading to the broken bridge of Mahad when a few vehicles including two MSRTC buses submerged under water.

In a cruel twist of irony after a deficit monsoon during 2015 Kerala once again saw deficit rains in 2016 with districts like Wayanad recording two consecutive years of deficit in excess of 40%.  The deficit rains in parts of South Karnataka & Kerala meant Cauvery basin recieved one of the lowest inflows this year with almost all the reservoirs in the basin now at its lowest ever points with only dead storage left with the summer still to come.

Enough has been discussed about Cyclone Vardah and Chennai so we will keep it brief.  2016 saw Chennai brush not with one cyclone but two of them.  During May as a deep depression just before intensifying into a Cyclone Roanu passed less than 50 kms from the coast of Chennai giving record rains which in hindsight mitigates the poor NEM which followed subsequently.

The failure of Northeast Monsoon 2016 completed the cycle of events with Tamil Nadu & Pondy recording the worst monsoon since 1876 while Chennai recorded its worst monsoon in possibly 150 years.  Though the season saw two three cyclones, Kyant, Nada & Vardah not to forget the deep depression in the first week of November, the overall rains left a lot to be desired making it a tense wait for the summer of 2017.


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