BHUBANESWAR: Even as the spectre of climate change has begun to hang precariously over the country with unprecedented heatwave sweeping across the north, while the north-east is battling floods and rainfall, Odisha too is witnessing major deviations from the usual weather conditions this year.
The State has suffered a whopping 47 per cent rainfall deficit in the past three months as the ritualistic evening nor’westers and pre-monsoon showers have made a vanishing act.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Odisha’s rainfall deficit stood at an unprecedented 96 per cent in March and 76 per cent in April, and the State has recorded 13 per cent less rainfall between May 5 and 11.Odisha’s normal rainfall (pre-monsoon) between March and May 31 is 128.4 mm. The State’s average rainfall for the month of March is 23.5 mm, April 33.9 mm and May 71 mm. But, it has received only 51.2 mm rainfall between March and May 16, which is 47 per cent lower than the rains the State receives during the period.
Some of the large rainfall deficient districts are - Sonepur 92 per cent, Balangir 77 per cent, Bargarh 73 per cent and Jagatsinghpur 72 per cent. While Cuttack has recorded 27 per cent deficit rainfall between March and May 16, only three districts including Khurda, Deogarh and Koraput have recorded normal rains during the period.
“Lack of factors like wind flow from Bay of Bengal containing moisture, westerly trough and cyclonic circulation were some of the reasons behind less nor’wester rains in the State in the last two months,” said Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre Director, HR Biswas.‘In April, mostly dry and warm north-westerly winds from the land approached Odisha. The winds had no moisture for which heatwave conditions prevailed and there was hardly any rainfall activity. In the last two months, there were only a few feeble cyclonic circulations which also did not provide adequate moisture to the State,’ he added.
Director of Centre for Environment and Climate (CEC) at SOA University, Sarat Chandra Sahu expressed similar views and said that flow of moisture carrying winds from Bay of Bengal to Odisha was not very strong. “No cyclonic circulation formed in the lower level over Odisha which could have helped in moisture incursion towards the State”, he said.
Meanwhile, the sweltering heat and humid conditions have also returned to the State after cyclone Asani dissipated last week. On Monday, 10 places in the State recorded 40 degree Celsius or more.Balangir was the hottest at 42.8 degree, followed by Sonepur and Boudh 42.5 degree each. The Twin City of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack recorded 35.8 degree Celsius and 35.6 degree respectively on Monday.
The IMD officials said rainfall deficit is expected to reduce in Odisha this month due to the thundershower activity.“Thunderstorm activity is likely to occur at a few places in the State till Friday and daytime temperature is expected to remain normal during next four to five days,” said Biswas.Sahu said daytime temperature is likely to remain normal in the coming days and thundershower activity may strengthen from May 23 onwards as the flow of winds carrying moisture is expected to increase during the period.