Cloud burst-like conditions in monsoon-hit northern Kerala have claimed nine lives until Tuesday evening.

Three overnight landslides were reported from here one after the other. The events occurred along the foothills of the Western Ghats. The windward side of the high ranges stop the monsoon flows and allow them climb to the heights. In this manner, moisture content in these flows condenses and cools to form massive towers of clouds which bear down on the hills and the lower reaches.

The rain fury was confined largely to the surrounding areas of affected districts even as the rest of Kerala witnessed a bright and hot sun. The turn of events closely mimicked what happened in Uttarakhand/Himachal Pradesh where a resurgent rain wave and flash floods killed 36 people.

STRONG FLOWS

Peninsular India was forecast to remain dry during the rest of the week and into middle of the next due to meteorological conditions that do not support wet weather. What triggered the strong monsoon flows was a prevailing low-pressure area over central India combined with a South China Sea storm, named Haikui.

Satellite maps indicated that the clouding over north Kerala has mostly dissipated, but the lingering moisture will continue to rain down for a day or two. Global forecasts indicate that the low-pressure area over north Madhya Pradesh may start weakening before heading towards north. They also suggest the possibility another bout of heavy rains for the foothills of Uttar Pradesh over the next few days.

MORE RAIN

Meanwhile, an India Meteorological Department update said that the monsoon remained ‘vigorous’ over west Madhya Pradesh and coastal and south interior Karnataka. It was ‘active’ over east Rajasthan, west Uttar Pradesh, east Madhya Pradesh, Konkan, Goa and Kerala.

vinson.kurian@

thehindu.co.in

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 8, 2012)
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