India sees unusually wet May Day: What’s causing this countrywide rainfall?

The good news is that there may be no heatwaves in the country over the next few days; the bad news is that this untimely rain may wreak havoc on crops

Heavy showers at Delhi's Lodhi Road on May Day | Video grab: Twitter/ANI

May Day caught many people across the country by surprise as untimely rain lashed nearly the whole of India, barring some western parts.

The good news is that the Met department believes there would be no heatwave conditions in the country over the next few days. The bad news is that this untimely rain is likely to wreak havoc on crops, especially the season’s favourite, mangoes.

The unseasonal rainfall follows a spell of countrywide heatwave in April, which is not common either. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has attributed the nationwide rain to “an active Western Disturbance” that was expected to affect northwest India from the night of May 1.

A Western Disturbance is a meteorological phenomenon that brings moisture-laden winds to an area where a low-pressure system is formed due to the interaction of cold and warm air. NDTV quoted an IMD official as saying that moisture-laden winds are coming in from the west as well as the Bay of Bengal. Officials told the media house that barring Konkan, Goa, and central Maharashtra, the entire country could expect rain over the next four days.

Also read: Intense heatwaves singe Asia as summer keeps eating into spring

IMD’s warning

In a press release, the IMD had already warned of rain is numerous regions of India over the first four days of May. Northwest India can expect light to moderate rainfall and thunderstorms with lightning, gusty winds, and hailstorm until May 2. Light to moderate scattered or widespread rainfall and even snowfall with thunderstorm, lightning, gusty winds are very likely over the Western Himalayan Region, said the IMD press release.

Delhi woke up to overcast skies on May 1 and rain pounded parts of the city in the afternoon, with the IMD forecasting a mercury dip of nine to ten degrees below normal after four days of rain. On Sunday, too, light showers brought down the capital’s maximum temperature to 28.7 degrees Celsius, the lowest in April since 2015, said the IMD.

Scattered locations across Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh can expect hailstorms till May 2; Uttarakhand over the next three days; Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, and Delhi on May 1 and 2; and Rajasthan on May 3.

News agency ANI reported that pilgrims on their way to Badrinath and Kedarnath had been stopped in Srinagar Garhwal after continuous snowfall and heavy rain lashed both pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand.

Thunderstorms are forecast in Uttarakhand on May 2 and 3, too. Heavy rain is expected in isolated areas of Jammu on May 2, and in Himachal Pradesh on May 1 and 2. A dust storm may hit West Rajasthan between May 3 and 4.

Also read: Punjab expected to buy 120 lakh MT of wheat despite inclement weather

Entire country under wet spell

Central and eastern India had mild to moderate rainfall, thunderstorms with lightning, strong gusts, and hailstorm forecast for May 1. Central India can also expect scattered to widespread rainfall with thunderstorms, lightning, and gusty winds over the next three days.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and south interior Karnataka could expect isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall until May 2, the IMD said. Hyderabad received so much rain over the weekend that it was left with flooded streets. Netizens widely shared videos of flooded streets on social media.

Eastern India is likely to receive light to moderate, scattered to widespread rainfall with thunderstorms, lightning, and gusty winds over the next three days. Heavy rain is expected in isolated locations over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim till May 2.

According to the IMD, heavy rainfall is very likely at isolated places over Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura on May 1 and 2, and in Assam and Meghalaya from May 1 to 4.

As a result of the rain, maximum temperatures are very likely to be below normal to near normal across the country, with no likely heatwave conditions in any part of India in the coming days.

However, unseasonal rain has already damaged onion crops in Maharashtra, causing farmers huge losses. Crop losses may mount with such massive countrywide rainfall.

(With agency inputs)