Natural Disasters

Cloudbursts in Uttarakhand again, flooding too

Several homes and roads in a number of villages in Uttarkhand’s Chamoli, Tehri and Rudraprayag districts flooded due to cloudburst incidents  

By Varsha Singh
Published: Wednesday 05 May 2021
Photo: Varsha Singh

A number of cloudbursts caused several homes and roads in a number of villages in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli, Tehri and Rudraprayag districts to be flooded with water and debris May 4, 2021, officials said.

Chindol Tok, Band Bazaar and Ganeshnagar in the Binsar valley near Almora were flooded. The Rudraprayag district reported a second consecutive cloudburst that resulted in heavy loss and damage.

Affected areas include Jakholi, Mayali Marg and Narkota National highway in Rudraprayag and Kumrada, Chiniyalisaur block and Kandal village in Tehri.

The Chamoli police as well as the state disaster response force team have started disaster-management and relief work in the affected areas.

The Alaknanda river’s water level has risen to a dangerous level due to continuous heavy rain. The administration has sounded an alert for people residing along the river’s banks.

Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has ordered the Chamoli district administrator to send relief immediately. This includes hospitalisation of the injured as well as food and shelter for the homeless. Rawat has also asked the administration to compensate for damages after an assessment of the situation.

Uttarakhand had a dry spell from January-March. Heavy rains in the third week of April caused a lot of damage to fields. The meteorological department in the state capital Dehradun claimed that the affected areas had received ‘moderate’ rainfall. But the photographs tell a very different story.

The department still does not have enough weather stations or other systems to assess the amount of rain in the mountainous districts. 

Meteorologist Rohit Thapliyal has predicted light to moderate rain and snowfall in most areas of the state  May 5, 6 and 7. On May 6, heavy rainfall is forecasted in the Nainital, Champawat, Pithoragarh, Bageshwar regions of Kumaon.

Extreme weather events are increasing in the Himalayan region. A state-of-the-art Doppler weather radar was installed January 15, 2021 at Mukteswar in Kumaon to report weather deterioration and alert people on time. A similar radar is to be installed at Lansdowne in the Garhwal region.

The radar at Mukteswar did not relay any information on the latest cloudburst incidents. Thapliyal said a Doppler radar showed the latest weather conditions in a radius of about 100 kilometres. It was not possible to estimate the intensity of weather in Garhwal, where Chamoli is located, from Mukteswar’s radar, he added. 

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