Lanslips, floods caused by mini-cloud bursts: experts

The landslips and floods which swept hilly areas of central Kerala districts on Saturday were very likely the products of mini-cloud bursts.

Mini-cloud bursts are defined as short, intense rain events where 5 cm or above rainfall is recorded in two consecutive hours.

Preliminary analysis of satellite and Automatic Weather Station (AWS) data have indicated that several places in the Peermade belt recorded 5 cm and above rainfall in two-hour periods on Saturday, Abhilash A. S., director, Advanced Centre for Atmospheric Radar Research, Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat), said.

The classification of 'mini-cloud burst' is better suited to the Kerala situation than the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) definition of a 'cloud burst' as a rain event where 10 cm rainfall is received at a station in one hour, according to him.

''The IMD classification is better suited to weather events in the Himalayan foothills, central India or the northeast. Our studies on the 2019 floods showed that we don't need 10 cm rainfall in one hour to cause landslips and flash floods here. Rainfall of 5 cm in two consecutive hours is ample to trigger similar results,'' he said.

Peermade in Idukki and Kanjirapally in Kottayam recorded the highest amount of rainfall during the 24-hour period which ended at 8.30 a.m. on Sunday, said IMD data released on Sunday. Both places recorded extremely heavy rainfall (above 20 cm in 24 hours).

Peermade recorded 29 cm and Kanjirapally 27 cm. Several other places recorded very heavy rainfall (11 cm to 20 cm) on Saturday. The list included Thodupuzha (20 cm), Poonjar (17 cm), Seethathode (15), Irikkur and Panniyur (14 cm each), while Punalur, Pattambi, Angadipuram and Thenmala recorded 11 cm each.

Rainfall over Kerala had intensified over the past week under the influence of a low pressure area over southeast Arabian Sea which moved toward the Kerala coast and another low pressure system over the Bay of Bengal which moved eastward towards the Andhra-Odisha coasts. Rainfall had peaked on Saturday, triggering landslips and floods.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 5:04:23 PM |

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