Not every bout of heavy rainfall is a cloudburst: Lotus

SRINAGAR: Not every incident of heavy rainfall is a cloudburst. And the current long spell of bad weather, which many believe is unprecedented, is not related to climate change, Met department said.
Director MeT Sonum Lotus told Kashmir Reader that high intensity and frequent rainfall Kashmir witnessed this year is “routine”.
Official data say that the Valley received 349mm rainfall since January this year, while the rainfall during the same period last year was 240 mm.
Lotus ascribes the fluctuating weather to Kashmir’s unique topography.
“If a place is plains, its climate is warm and if it is hilly it is largely cool. The Valley is both hilly and plain, which is why weather behaves differently,” adds Lotus.
So, Lotus said, if there is abundant rainfall this year, there is possibility of a dry spell next year.
“This is what the history of climate in Kashmir suggests. So to say frequent incidents of rainfall is because of climate change, which is a very complex issue, I say this claim is not based on facts. The data available with me suggests nothing like that,” Lotus said.
He said there is no substance in reports that say 19 cloudbursts occurred in July this year. According to him, Met department has registered only two cloudbursts on its radar.
“The entire state has only one radar that can detect a cloudburst in a radius of 100km. It has detected only two and I don’t understand by which device 19 cloud bursts have been detected and who has detected them. There are chances that cloudburst might have taken place in Pir Panjal mountain range or Chenab valley but since there are no devices there, nothing can be said about them,” Lotus said.
A cloudburst occurs when a cloud precipitates more than 100 mm of rainfall in one hour, Lotus said.
“There were incidents of thunderstorm, lightening and heavy rainfall this month but they cannot be called as cloudbursts,” he adds.
In July this year, flashfloods and landslides triggered by frequent and heavy rainfall killed over a dozen people and damaged more than 150 structures in Kashmir.