From Phailin to Hudhud: a year of extreme weather events

Year 2014 has witnessed a series of floods, droughts and an unusual spell of hailstorms in a few states. A look at the damage and displacement caused by them

By Vani Manocha, Kiran Pandey
Published: Friday 10 October 2014

Phailin ravaged over 300,000 houses in coastal Odisha

Since October 2013, when Phailin hit Odisha’s coast and left a trail of destruction, India has witnessed a series of extreme weather events like cyclonic storms, cloudburst, floods, droughts and hailstorms.

Though cyclone Phailin did not claim many lives, it left behind a trail of destruction that severely crippled people’s livelihood. The storm was followed by Lehar, a cyclonic storm initially predicted to be a very severe storm and later transformed into a deep depression.

Year 2014 began with the occurrence of polar vortex, a phenomenon that brought unusual chill to North America and Europe. The weather event did not leave India untouched. The country experienced hailstorms because of the unusual movement of cold westerly winds that came from the north and caused snowfall over the Himalayan region in January, putting an end to farmers’ dream of a good harvest in Maharashtra. While many farmers were yet to count the losses, another demon in the form of delayed and deficit monsoon knocked the doors of farmers across India.

The tragedy of extreme weather events did not cease with this. In September, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed one of its worst ever floods. It claimed about 300 lives and economic losses have been pegged at about Rs 5,000 crore. Along with Kashmir, northeastern states in the country also battled floods in the same month.

The latest in the series of extreme weather events is the Hudhud cyclone which is heading towards the east coast of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

All the numbers in the table have been sourced from various news reports

Time of occurrence  State(s) affected Economic Loss Number Of People Displaced 
Floods September, 2014 Gujarat (Vadodara) Not available 20,000 persons were evacuated
Floods August, 2014 Odisha Paddy crops on 30,659 hectare and jute and vegetable farming on 6,566 hectare damaged in 509 villages in 156 gram panchayats 34 persons dead,  9.95 lakh people in 1,553 villages of 89 blocks in 23 districts affected 
Floods August, 2014 Bihar   24 dead, 42,000 pesons shifted
Floods August, 2014 Uttar Pradesh   67 dead and 60,000 people in 9 districts bordering Nepal displaced
Floods August, 2014 Assam Economic loss worth Rs 2,010 crore due to floods in 2014, an average loss of Rs 200 crore is reported every year Nearly 12 lakh hit by floods
Floods September, 2014 Meghalaya Properties including road, houses, livestock and agriculture worth about Rs 2,000 crore damaged. 52 killed
Floods August, 2014 Arunachal Pradesh   403 people affected, 56 killed 
Floods September, 2014 Jammu and Kashmir Rs 5,000 crore (as reported by The Times of India) , crops  damaged worth Rs 6,611 crore, livestock loss pegged at 10,050 milch animals and 33,000 sheep and goats, infrastructure loss includes 6,000 km road network damaged and 3,000 water supply schemes affected 5642 villages affected across the state  (2489 in Kashmir valley and 3153 in Jammu division) 
Landslide  July, 2014 Maharashtra (Pune district)   153 people killed and 200 feared trapped as 44 houses in Malin village in the Ambegaon tehsil of Pune distrct were flattened
Cyclone April, 2014 Tripura (Agartala)   A tribal woman died, 1450 houses damaged and unspecified number of people displaced
Cyclone  April, 2014 Meghalaya   As many as 70 houses damaged
Cyclone - Hudhud October, 2014 Andaman and Nicobar Islands    
Thunderstorm April, 2014 Gujarat (Ahmedabad)   5 dead, over 100 injured
Storm 27 May,2014 Uttar Pradesh   13 people killed
Storm 13 May, 2014 West Bengal (Jalpaiguri district)   one person killed, 3,000 houses destroyed
Monsoon rain July, 2014 Kerala crop lossworth Rs 11.20 crore 29 dead, 366 people evacuated
Unseasonal rain/hailstorm 13 March, 2014 Maharashtra (Nagpur district) 140,000 hectares farmland damaged, state lost wheat crop over 232,000 hectares  
Unseasonal Rainfall 06 March, 2014 Karnataka (Bellary taluk)   Horticultural crops (especially sapota) lost, over 480 hectares damaged
Drought May, 2014 Karnataka   28 districts affected
Drought September, 2014 Uttar Pradesh   44 disstricts affected

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