Climate Change

UP, Bihar hit hardest by adverse weather in 2020

More than 350 deaths were reported from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar each in 2020, mainly due to thunderstorms, lightning and cold wave events

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 05 January 2021
Cyclone Amphan ripped through West Bengal and devastated the Sunderbans in May 2020. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Adverse weather events continued to batter India in 2020, with densely populated Uttar Pradesh and Bihar paying a heavy price.  

More than 350 deaths were reported from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar each in 2020, mainly due to thunderstorms, lightning and cold wave events, according to the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) Statement on Climate of India during 2020. It was eleased January 4, 2021.

Heavy rainfall and flood-related incidents reportedly claimed more than 600 lives in different parts of the country during pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons.

 According to the statement:

“Of these 600, 129 lives were reportedly claimed from Assam; 72 from Kerala (65 dead in a single day in Pettimudi, Kerala on August 7, 2020 in a landslide); 61 from Telangana (59 lives reportedly claimed between 1 and 20 October, 2020); 54 from Bihar; 50 from Maharashtra; 48 Uttar Pradesh; and 38 from Himachal Pradesh.”

Thunderstorm and lightning caused 815 deaths in 2020 across the country. Most of them were reported from: Bihar (280), Uttar Pradesh (220), Jharkhand (122), Madhya Pradesh (72), Maharashtra (23) and Andhra Pradesh (20).

“Cold wave conditions mainly prevailed over central parts the country, especially in January, killing at least 150. Of these, 88 were reported from Uttar Pradesh alone; 45 from Bihar on January 1 alone; and 16 from Jharkhand,” the statement said.

The annual mean land surface air temperature averaged over India during 2020 was 0.290 degrees Celsius above normal (based on the data of 1981-2010), the statement said.

The year was also the eighth-warmest on record since 1901, which was when record-keeping country-wide temperature variations began, it added.

“Monsoon and post-monsoon seasons with mean temperature anomalies (actual temperature minus normal temperature) of +0.430°C and +0.530°C respectively contributed to this warming,” according to the statement.

The mean temperature during winters was also above normal with an anomaly of +0.140°C.

As many as five cyclones formed over the North Indian Ocean in 2020: Super cyclonic storm Amphan, very severe cyclonic storms Nivar and Gati, severe cyclonic storm Nisarga and cyclonic storm Burevi.

 Of these, Nisarga and Gati formed over the Arabian Sea; the remaining three formed over the Bay of Bengal.

The super cyclonic storm Amphan formed in the pre-monsoon season and crossed West Bengal coast over Sundarbans on May 20, claiming 90 lives and killing 4,000 livestock in West Bengal.

The severe cyclonic storm Nisarga, formed in the monsoon season, crossed Maharashtra coast on June 3, claiming four lives and killing 2,000 livestock in Maharashtra.

The very severe cyclonic storm Nivar crossed Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts close to north of Puducherry, claiming 12 lives and killing 10,836 livestock in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Cyclonic storm Burevi claimed nine lives and killed 200 animals in Tamil Nadu.

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