Citizens walk in an inundated street in West Bengal

(Subhrajit Chandra/EISAMAY, BCCL, Kolkata)

Tuesday, May 17: Cyclone Asani’s intervention had united the East Indian states in getting abundant rains last week, with the coastal districts of West Bengal and Odisha being among the hardest impacted. Now, the region is expected to continue receiving constant rainfall over the coming days, although some parts of Jharkhand and Bihar may still experience heatwave conditions on Tuesday.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has observed that strong southwesterly winds are transporting moisture from the Bay of Bengal onto the region, and this will create wet conditions over the region for the next 4-5 days.

Accordingly, the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Gangetic West Bengal and Odisha are all likely to experience isolated to scattered rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds over the next 3-4 days.

However, western parts of Bihar and Jharkhand may endure scorching temperatures up to 40℃ on Wednesday, but the mercury may then begin to drop gradually till Saturday, according to forecasts.

In view of the thunderstorm predictions, all four of the aforementioned states have been placed under a yellow watch till Wednesday, so as to advise residents of the region to ‘be updated’ on the local weather situation.

Some of these thunderstorms can be attributed to the Nor’westers, which are essentially localised rainfall and thunderstorm events that occur in East India at this time of the year.

These storms have been ravaging the region of late, uprooting trees and disrupting traffic. In Jharkhand, a high-intensity thunderstorm even resulted in the death of a 45-year-old daily wager at Bistupur on Sunday, May 15.

Since the beginning of May, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal have all experienced ‘excess’ rains as compared to their respective average figures for the period between May 1-16, recording precipitations of 34.9mm, 33mm and 108.2mm, respectively. Odisha, on the other hand, has registered ‘normal’ precipitation of 37.6mm in the same time period.

Meanwhile, the IMD has also stated that circumstances are currently ideal for the southwest monsoon to progress further into some more sections of the South Bay of Bengal, the entire Andaman Sea, Andaman Islands, and some parts of the east-central Bay of Bengal over the next 2­-3 days.

While reports indicate its onset over Kerala may occur about three days earlier than normal, it will be interesting to see if it arrives over East India before its normal time of around mid-June.


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