Monday, August 01, 2005

An unusual kind of cloudburst

Just what exactly happened on July 26? The title of this blog indicates that it was a cloudburst. Now, according to one typical definition of the term, a 'cloudburst' is "extreme rainfall, sometimes mixed with hail and thunder, which normally lasts no longer than a few minutes but is capable of creating minor flood conditions." What was unusual about July 26, remarkably so, was that a cloudburst took place with the intensity associated with that term, but for a duration that was far, far longer.

To understand exactly what happened, read this excellent interview of S R Kalsi, the additional director general of meteorology, in which he tells us that this was "a very unusual kind of cloudburst." He demystifies the events that led to the cloudburst, claims that the meteorological department did foresee "large-scale rainfall on July 26," and makes forecasts for the next few days, including more heavy rains after August 5.

In other news, Vilasrao Deshmukh, who has been having a tough time defending his administration on TV channels, has announced a compensation for the victims that seems rather inadequate to me: Rs 5000 (apprx. US$ 115) for each family whose home has been "completely submerged" and "20 kilograms of ration and 10 litres of kerosene."

Also, PTI reports that Indore has also been lashed by heavy rains. Seven people have died and 12000 have been shifted from low-lying areas.