India File

In an age of extremes

Vinson Kurian | Updated on August 27, 2018 Published on August 27, 2018

Kerala’s weather has swung between extremes in recent times. Districts that had experienced extreme drought conditions consecutively through the last three years in the representative samples were precisely the ones to be deluged this time. Bone dry rivers, their beds savaged by sand mining and encroached for construction, sprung alarmingly to life.

For instance, Idukki, the hill district that is home to the largest hydel project in the state and grows the bulk of the spices and plantation crops, suffered extreme drought situations in July during the three years and in August (except last year). The scene has drastically reversed in 2018 with a ‘large excess’ of 92 per cent till date (and the highest in the state) but with huge damage in its wake.

Mostly similar is the case with Palakkad district, which, along with the low-lying Kuttanad in Alappuzha district, is the rice bowl of the State. July had returned extreme drought conditions in 2015, 2016 and 2017 as well as in August in 2015 and 2016 while returning an excess of 19 per cent in 2017.

Kottayam has recorded the third highest excess of 51 per cent this year but, again, like Idukki and Palakkad, faced consecutive droughts in the last three years.

Wayanad, Alappuzha and Thrissur, which too have recorded excess rainfall so far during this year went through a dry July and August in all three years, including 2017, which was otherwise a ‘normal rainfall’ year for the Met subdivision of Kerala as a whole (including Lakshadweep). Kerala recorded a nominal deficit of minus 9 per cent in 2017.

The State underwent drought conditions in 2015 (minus 26 per cent) and 2016 (minus 34 per cent). In 2018, it is in the ‘excess rainfall’ zone with 41 per cent with less than a week left in August and the whole of September, the last of the four-month season, to go.

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Published on August 27, 2018
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