Weather in Delhi, NCR changed on Friday (March 12) as skies turned gray and the city received some light showers in the early morning hours. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in its bulletin said “Thunderstorm to be observed at isolated places over Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal & Sikkim, Jharkhand, Assam & Meghalaya, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Kerala & Male.”
It also added that the national capital, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Rajasthan, Western Uttar Pardesh may witness this rainfall till Thursday evening. The IMD also added that some places in these areas may also experience thunderstorms/ lightning/gusty winds.
The cause of the change in weather is due to the Western disturbance that is generated in the Mediterranean Sea due to the formation of a high-pressure zone over Ukraine, Belarus, and other adjoining countries in Eastern Europe. This high-pressure zone attracts cold winds from the polar zone.
This disturbance zone then moves eastward and brings rainfall to the Indian subcontinent after passing through Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan generally during the post-monsoon season.
Recent Radar images of Srinagar, Delhi, Paradip, and Satellite image show convective clouds over parts of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, North Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana Chandigarh. Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, East and north Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand,
— India Meteorological Department (@Indiametdept) March 12, 2021
Advantages of Western Disturbances
There are several advantages that the Western Disturbances bring with it such as precipitation which is quite beneficial for Indian agriculture. The Rabi crops that are grown during the season especially wheat require precipitation during their growth.
It also provides a source of water to many areas that may experience a scarcity of it and also helps in activating the monsoon in parts of Northwest India.
Disadvantages of Western Disturbances
If the precipitation goes beyond a level it can cause crop damages and a weak Western disturbance can also cause crop failure along with water scarcity. Furthermore, there are several natural disasters that have been attributed to it such as :
- 2010 Leh cloudburst: On August 6, 2010, a cloudburst occurred across the now Union Territory in which the town of Leh along with 70 other villages towns was damaged. More than 250 people had lost their lives while 29 people were never found.
- 2014 Kashmir floods: The region received excessive rainfall which affected 2600 villages across Jammu and Kashmir while across the border in Pakistan Sialkot, Lahore, Narowal, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala, Hafizabad, and Sheikhupura bore the brunt of the disaster. The death toll from the floods was 557 (277 in India and 280 in Pakistan).