Agri Business

Central, eastern India set for heavy rain, hailstorm bouts

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on January 18, 2016


Standing rabi crops facing threat; winter sowing suffers setback due to moisture stress

The confluence of opposing winds over parts of central and adjoining peninsular India and East India is forecast to bring above-normal rainfall over the region, international weather agencies have said.

But the flipside of the scenario is the continued threat of violent weather, in which moisture mopped up by the incoming winds gets lifted up to trigger hailstorm.


Hail is the most destructive form of precipitation. The damaging impact is not just from falling hailstones, but also from accompanying high winds and torrential rains. Northern India is a soft target for large hail, and has reported more hail-related losses than anywhere else.

Hail is most common in mid-latitudes during early summer, where surface temperatures are warm enough to promote instability associated with strong thunderstorms, but the upper atmosphere is still cool enough to support ice.

The problem with heavy rains is that soil becomes loose, especially in the case of the late-sown crops. The crop becomes prone to ‘lodging’ (bending of the stalk of a plant or the entire plant); more so if there are accompanying high winds. But the crop can very well do with the largely ‘sprinkler’ effect from light rains.

Winter sowing

The weather threat to the standing rabi crops in the region comes in the context of report of winter sowing having already suffered a setback due to moisture stress, following two consecutive drought years.

According to India Met Department projections, the thundershower-and-hailstorm regime will progressively move east from central India over the next three days.

Meanwhile, a weather-setting western disturbance has reached Pakistan on its eastward journey, and is bound to cross the international border into Northwest India over the next few days. According to the Met, the westerly system has created an offspring cyclonic circulation over central Pakistan and adjoining western Rajasthan and Punjab. Another cyclonic circulation has parked over southern Madhya Pradesh. This is apparently drawing moisture from the Arabian Sea, which is finding its way into Central India.

Meanwhile to the east, the shifting out of the resident anti-cyclone has caused winds to blow as easterlies to south-easterlies into the same region, from the Bay of Bengal. This explains the background of thundershowers and hailstorm in the region.

Dense fog

In Northwest India, the western disturbance has caused dense-to-very-dense fog, but no rain, at a few places over Punjab and isolated places over northern Rajasthan, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, eastern Uttar Pradesh, northern Madhya Pradesh, northern Assam, Odisha and Tripura, during the 24 hours ending Monday morning.

Visibility was reduced to 25 metres at Patiala, Ambala, Ludhiana, Ganganagar, Jodhpur, Pilani, Churu, Agra, Delhi and Sultanpur, indicating the spread and intensity of the fog.

Published on January 18, 2016
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