The Telegraph
Tuesday , March 4 , 2014
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Winter wonders: February is the new December

- Weathermen confirm last month was the wettest & coldest in a decade, blame western disturbances

The weather god was at his maverick best last month.

Meteorological figures have confirmed what the residents have been guessing all along — February 2014 was the wettest and coldest in Jharkhand in a decade, the unseasonal showers being brought on by western disturbances and signalling a shift in weather patterns as a whole.

According to statistics available with Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) offices, Jharkhand received average rainfall of around 40mm in February — a record in itself — with 59 observatories across the state collecting around 2,100mm.

In comparison, the state’s average rainfall in 2013 and 2012 was around 10mm.

No wonder then, several places including Ranchi, Daltonganj and other districts in hilly terrain experienced sub-10 chill with minimum readings hovering between 7°C and 10°C last month.

The minimum readings had also nosedived below 10°C at Jamshedpur and other places in Kolhan region in the first week of February.

“The weather behaved unusually in February, leading to a good spell of rain and prolonging winter. The month was both wettest and coldest in the past 10 years. We are also referring to the old records for preparing a report. It might be more than 10 years or so,” said director of Patna Meteorological Centre A.K. Sen.

This February, Daltonganj and Jamshedpur topped the rain-o-meter, receiving 87.3mm and 73.5mm of rain, respectively. Capital Ranchi witnessed a shower bounty of 50.5mm. The corresponding figures in February last year were 14.5mm in Ranchi and 11.8mm in Jamshedpur.

The 2012 records say that Ranchi had registered around 10mm of rainfall and Jamshedpur 13.2mm in the February of that year.

In February 2011, the figures for the capital and the steel city were as low as 2mm to 4mm, while in 2010 and 2009, Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Daltonganj received below 10mm rain in February.

The last time it had rained heavily in Jamshedpur was in 1934, when the local IMD office had received a record 112mm.

A. Wadood, weather scientist and agriculture expert associated with Birsa Agriculture University, attributed the change in weather pattern to a string of western disturbances. “Almost the entire February remained wet and cold, which is an unusual phenomenon. This can be linked to the global climate change,” he told The Telegraph. However, he added that it had to be seen whether such weather pattern persisted.

The showers came as both boon and bane for the crops.

“The rain coincided with the harvest season of crops like arhar, mustard, pea besides other crops and vegetables. Farmers were worried when will the weather improve. The showers hampered harvesting of crops, but at the same time it proved beneficial for standing crops,” Wadood said.

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