Cold loses bite as westerly systems `flatten out'

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Vinson Kurian

Thiruvananthapuram, Jan. 30

A FRESH western disturbance forecast to enter the northwest by Wednesday is likely to be delayed since the existing system over Jammu and Kashmir and the adjoining hills continues to persist triggering cloudiness and rain over north Pakistan and adjoining Rajasthan.

The prevailing weather will also have a sobering effect on the incoming system, which is now expected to impact the higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir only, said Dr Akhilesh Gupta of the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).

Westerly systems approaching the northwest in recent times have been noted for their tendency to get `flattened out' on the home stretch, dumping most of their moisture on the other side of the international border. This will mean that the cold air that trails the system would lose much of the bite, pre-empting another bitter cold wave in the north and northwest of the country.

Mercury will obviously fall a few notches, but not to the extent witnessed earlier in the season that had brought the region under a severe and prolonged cold snap. This `flattening out' may also have helped in minimising whatever drag effect the westerly system may have had of the unusually cold winter upstream in northern Europe.

A destructive cold front moving in from the northwest has been throwing up some frigid weather that saw mercury plunge to record lows in the continent. Heavy snowfalls, high winds and cold have been causing problems across northern Europe, bringing about major disruptions to transport and power supplies.

Snow cut off roads and paralysed transport in France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and Portugal.Dr Gupta said it was now unlikely that it would have any significant rub-off effect on north India weather.

Meanwhile, an update by the NCMRWF said that Sunday's western disturbance continued to persist over Jammu and Kashmir and the adjoining hilly regions. It is likely to move away further in an eastward direction within next day or two leading to reduction in the snowfall/ rainfall activity over Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.

On Monday, cold wave conditions prevailed in certain parts of central and north peninsular India, viz., Marathawada and Telangana. The NCMRWF maintained its outlook for both day and night temperatures to rise by about 2-3 deg C over most parts of central and northwest India in the next three to four days.

This is expected to help in the abatement of the cold wave conditions as well as bring the temperature levels to normal or slightly above normal in these areas.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 31, 2006)
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