Arid is the new name of April 2014. The month has been the driest in seven years with most districts failing to open their shower accounts.
Considered the peak time for Nor’westers, the summer saviour that originates over the Chotanagpur Plateau, this April saw nothing but a low-intensity squall at 45kmph on the fourteenth with its epicentre in Dumka.
The debut Nor’wester brought rain to Ranchi, but left places like Jamshedpur, Daltonganj, Dhanbad and Bokaro high and dry. Statistics show that the capital recorded a meagre 5.2mm and Dumka reported 3.5mm.
Last April, Jamshedpur had soaked in 32.8mm and in 2012, the local Met office had recorded an impressive 75mm (see box). Ranchi had topped the April 2013 rain-o-meter with 45mm, thanks to Nor’wester triplets.
Hazaribagh, too, had recorded a good spell of around 40mm. This year, the district has remained parched like a desert.
Statistics reveal that from 2008, the month never went so thirsty until now. In the past six Aprils, all the 24 districts received at least 10mm rainfall by the 20th of the month.
Director of Patna Meteorological Centre A.K. Sen admitted the peculiarity in storm behaviour, which has resulted in such prolonged dry spell. “The Nor’wester needs both heat and moisture. Inadequate moisture in the air has taken its toll. Else, Jharkhand should have triggered at least three storms.”
Sen, however, did not sound hopeless. “Maximum temperatures have consistently remained above 36°C across the state. The plateau is heating well. The weather is also helping in formation of convective clouds, which may trigger a storm.”
Thunderclouds did develop over the Kolhan region on Sunday evening, but no Nor’wester or rainfall was reported. The Ranchi weather office has, however, hinted at thundershowers in 48 hours.
The Regional Meteorological Centre in Calcutta reported light rain accompanied by wind in Bengal districts like Midnapore, Hooghly and Howrah. “Rainfall was caused by a local phenomenon,” said a duty officer.