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A cloudburst is an extreme amount of precipitation in a short period of time,[1] sometimes accompanied by hail and thunder, which is capable of creating flood conditions. Cloudbursts can quickly dump large amounts of water, e.g. 25 mm of precipitation corresponds to 25,000 metric tons per square kilometre (1 inch corresponds to 72,300 short tons over one square mile). However, cloudbursts are infrequent as they occur only via orographic lift or occasionally when a warm air parcel mixes with cooler air, resulting in sudden condensation. At times, a large amount of runoff from higher elevations is mistakenly conflated with a cloudburst. The term "cloudburst" arose from the notion that clouds were akin to water balloons and could burst, resulting in rapid precipitation. Though this idea has since been disproven, the term remains in use.

Properties

Rainfall rate equal to or greater than 100 millimetres (3.9 in) per hour is a cloudburst.[2][3] However, different definitions are used, e.g. the Swedish weather service SMHI defines the corresponding Swedish term "skyfall" as 1 mm per minute for short bursts and 50 mm per hour for longer rainfalls. The associated convective cloud can extend up to a height of 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) above the ground.[4]

During a cloudburst, more than 20 millimetres (0.79 in) of rain may fall in a few minutes. The results of cloudbursts can be disastrous. Cloudbursts are also responsible for flash flood creation.

Rapid precipitation from cumulonimbus clouds is possible due to the Langmuir precipitation process in which large droplets can grow rapidly by coagulating with smaller droplets which fall down slowly. It is not essential that cloudbursts occur only when a cloud clashes with a solid body like a mountain, they can also occur when hot water vapor mingles into the cold resulting in sudden condensation.

Record cloudbursts

Duration Rainfall Location Date
1 minute 1.5 inches (38.10 mm) Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe 26 November 1970
5.5 minutes 2.43 inches (61.72 mm) Port Bell, Panama 29 November 1911
15 minutes 7.8 inches (198.12 mm) Plumb Point, Jamaica 12 May 1916
20 minutes 8.1 inches (205.74 mm) Curtea de Argeș, Romania 7 July 1947
40 minutes 9.25 inches (234.95 mm) Guinea, Virginia, United States 24 August 1906
1 hour 9.84 inches (250 mm) Leh, Ladakh, India August 5, 2010 [5]
1 hour 5.67 inches (144 mm) Pune, Maharashtra, India September 29, 2010 [2]
1.5 hours 7.15 inches (182 mm) Pune, Maharashtra, India October 4, 2010 [2]
2 hours 100 millimetres (3.9 in) Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, India July 1, 2016
5 hours 15.35 inches (390 mm) La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina April 2, 2013 [6]
10 hours 57.00 inches (1,448 mm) Mumbai, Maharashtra, India July 26, 2005
13 hours 45.03 inches (1,144 mm) Foc-Foc, La Réunion January 8, 1966[7]
20 hours 91.69 inches (2,329 mm) Ganges Delta, Bangladesh/India January 8, 1966[8]
24 hours 73.62 inches (1,870 mm) Cilaos, La Réunion March, 1952

Locations

In the Indian subcontinent

In the Indian subcontinent, a cloudburst usually occurs when a monsoon cloud drifts northwards, from the Bay of Bengal or Arabian Sea across the plains, then onto the Himalayas and bursts, bringing rainfall as high as 75 millimetres per hour.[9]

Bangladesh

  • In September, 2004 341 millimetres (13.4 in) mm of rain was recorded in Dhaka in 24 hours.[10]
  • On June 11, 2007 425 millimetres (16.7 in) mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Chittagong.[10]
  • On July 29, 2009 a record breaking 333 millimetres (13.1 in) of rain was recorded in Dhaka, in 24 hours, previously 326 millimetres (12.8 in) of rain was recorded on July 13, 1956.[10]

India

  • On September 28, 1908 – A cloudburst resulted in a flood where the Musi River swelled up to 3.4 meters. About 15,000 people died and around 80,000 houses were destroyed along the banks of the river.[11]
  • In July 1970, a cloudburst in the upper catchment area led to a 15-metre rise in the Alaknanda River in Uttarakhand. The entire river basin, from Hanumanchatti near the pilgrimage town of Badrinath to Haridwar was affected. An entire village was swept away.[citation needed]
  • On August 15, 1997, 115 people were killed when a cloudburst occurred and trail of death was all that was left behind in Chirgaon in Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh.[12]
  • On August 17, 1998, a massive landslide following heavy rain and a cloudburst at Malpa village killed 250 people, including 60 Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims in Kali valley of the Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand. Among the dead was Odissi dancer Protima Bedi.[citation needed]
  • On July 16, 2003, about 40 people were killed in flash floods caused by a cloudburst at Shilagarh in Gursa area of Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh.[13]
  • On July 6, 2004, at least 17 people were killed and 28 injured when three vehicles were swept into the Alaknanda River by heavy landslides triggered by a cloudburst that left nearly 5,000 pilgrims stranded near Badrinath shrine area in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.[14]
  • On 26 July 2005, a cloudburst caused approximately 950 millimetres (37 in) of rainfall in Mumbai.[15] over a span of eight to ten hours; the deluge completely paralysed India's largest city and financial centre, leaving over 1,000 dead. Half of the flooding was caused due to the blockage sewers in many parts of Mumbai.
  • On August 14, 2007, 52 people were confirmed dead when a severe cloudburst occurred in Bhavi village in Ganvi, Himachal Pradesh.[16]
  • On August 7, 2009, 38 people were killed in a landslide resulting from a cloudburst in Nachni area near Munsiyari in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.[17]
  • On August 6, 2010, in Leh, a series of cloudbursts left over 1,000 people dead (updated number) and over 400 injured in the frontier Leh town of Ladakh region.[8]
  • On September 15, 2010, a cloudburst in Almora in Uttarakhand submerged two villages, one of them being Balta, in which save for a few people, the entire village drowned. Almora was declared as a town suffering from the brunt of cloudburst by the Uttarakhand authorities.[citation needed]
  • On September 29, 2010, a cloudburst in NDA (National Defence Academy), Khadakwasla, Pune, in Maharashtra left many injured and hundreds of vehicles and buildings damaged due to the consequent flash flood.[2]
  • Again on October 4, 2010, a cloudburst in Pashan, Pune, in Maharashtra left 4 dead, many injured and hundreds of vehicles and buildings damaged; the record books registered the highest rainfall in intensity and quantity in Pune city, then about 118 years old (record of 149.1 mm in 24 hours) of October 24, 1892. In the history of IT hub Pune, for the first time this flash flood forced locals to remain in their vehicles, offices and what ever available shelter in the accompanying traffic jam.[2]
  • On October 4, 2010, a cloudburst in Pashan, Pune may have been the world's first predicted cloudburst. Since 2:30 pm weather scientist Kirankumar Johare in the city frantically sent out SMSs to the higher authorities warning of an impending cloudburst over the Pashan area. Even after taking the necessary precautions, 4 people died including one young scientist.[2]
  • On June 9, 2011, near Jammu, a cloudburst left four people dead and over several injured in Doda-Batote highway, 135 km from Jammu. Two restaurants and many shops were washed away[18]
  • On 20 July 2011, a cloudburst in upper Manali, 18 km from Manali town in Himachal Pradesh state left 2 dead and 22 missing.[19]
  • On September 15, 2011, a cloudburst was reported in the Palam area of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The Indira Gandhi International Airport's Terminal-3 was flooded with water at the arrival due to the immense downpour. Even though no lives were lost in the rain that lasted an hour, it was enough to enter the record books as the highest rainfall in the city since 1959.[20]
  • On September 14, 2012, there was a cloudburst in Ukhimath in the Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand killing 39 people.[21]
  • On June 15, 2013, a cloudburst was reported in Kedarnath and Rambara region of Rudraprayag district, Uttarakhand. Over 1,000 killed to date, it is feared that the death toll may rise to 5,000. Debris is still being cleared and thousands are still missing as of June 30, 2013. It left approximately 84,000 people stranded for several days. The Indian Army and its Central Command launched one of the largest and most extensive human rescue missions in its history. Spread over 40,000 square kilometres, 45 helicopters were deployed to rescue the stranded.[22][23] According to a news report this incident was falsely linked with cloud burst, rather it was caused due to disturbance in the two glaciers near Kedarnath.[24]
  • On July 30, 2014, a landslide occurred in the small Indian village of Malin, located in Ambegaon taluka in Pune district of India. The landslide, which hit the village early in the morning while its residents were asleep, killed at least 20 people. In addition to those dead, over 160 people were believed to have been buried in the landslide in 44 separate houses, though more recent estimates place the figure at about seventy
  • On July 31, 2014, a cloudburst was reported in Tehri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. At least 4 people were reported dead.
  • On September 6, 2014 there was a cloudburst in Kashmir valley killing more than 200 people. Center for Science and Environment (CSE) mentioned heavy and unchecked development aggravated the development in the region. Over 1,84,000 people were rescued after heavy rains have large part of the State submerged.
  • On May

    Rainfall rate equal to or greater than 100 millimetres (3.9 in) per hour is a cloudburst.[2][3] However, different definitions are used, e.g. the Swedish weather service SMHI defines the corresponding Swedish term "skyfall" as 1 mm per minute for short bursts and 50 mm per hour for longer rainfalls. The associated convective cloud can extend up to a height of 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) above the ground.[4]

    During a cloudburst, more than 20 millimetres (0.79 in) of rain may fall in a few minutes. The results of cloudbursts can be disastrous. Cloudbursts are also responsible for flash flood creation.

    Rapid precipitation from cumulonimbus clouds is possible due to the Langmuir precipitation process in which large droplets can grow rapidly by coagulating with smaller droplets which fall down slowly. It is not essential that cloudbursts occur only when a cloud clashes with a solid body like a mountain, they can also occur when hot water vapor mingles into the cold resulting in sudden condensation.

    Record cloudbursts

    Duration Rainfall Location Date
    1 minute 1.5 inches (38.10 mm) Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe 26 November 1970
    5.5 minutes 2.43 inches (61.72 mm) Port Bell, Panama 29 November 1911
    15 minutes 7.8 inches (198.12 mm) Plumb Point, Jamaica 12 May 1916
    20 minutes 8.1 inches (205.74 mm) Curtea de Argeș, Romania 7 July 1947
    40 minutes 9.25 inches (234.95 mm) Guinea, During a cloudburst, more than 20 millimetres (0.79 in) of rain may fall in a few minutes. The results of cloudbursts can be disastrous. Cloudbursts are also responsible for flash flood creation.

    Rapid precipitation from cumulonimbus clouds is possible due to the Langmuir precipitation process in which large droplets can grow rapidly by coagulating with smaller droplets which fall down slowly. It is not essential that cloudbursts occur only when a cloud clashes with a solid body like a mountain, they can also occur when hot water vapor mingles into the cold resulting in sudden condensation.

    In the Indian subcontinent, a cloudburst usually occurs when a monsoon cloud drifts northwards, from the Bay of Bengal or Arabian Sea across the plains, then onto the Himalayas and bursts, bringing rainfall as high as 75 millimetres per hour.[9]

    Bangladesh

    • In September, 2004 341 millimetres (13.4 in) mm of rain was recorded in Dhaka in 24 hours.[10]
    • On June 11, 2007 425 millimetres (16.7 in) mm of rain fell in 24 hours in Chittagong.[10]
    • On July 29, 2009 a record breaking 333 millimetres (13.1 in) of rain was recorded in Dhaka, in 24 hours, previously 326 millimetres (12.8 in) of rain was recorded on July 13, 1956.[10]

    India

    • On September 28, 1908 – A cloudburst resulted in a flood where the Musi River swelled up to 3.4 meters. About 15,000 people died and around 80,000 houses were destroyed along the banks of the river.[11]
    • In July 1970, a cloudburst in the upper catchment area led to a 15-metre rise in the Alaknanda River in Uttarakhand. The entire river basin, from Hanumanchatti near the pilgrimage town of Badrinath to Haridwar was affected. An entire village was swept away.[citation needed]
    • On August 15, 1997, 115 people were killed when a cloudburst occurred and trail of death was all that was left behind in Chirgaon in Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh.[12]
    • On August 17, 1998, a massive landslide following heavy rain and a cloudburst at Malpa village killed 250 people, including 60 Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims in Kali valley of the Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand. Among the dead was Odissi dancer Protima Bedi.[citation needed]
    • On July 16, 2003, about 40 people were killed in flash floods caused by a cloudburst at Shilagarh in Gursa area of Kullu district, Himachal Pradesh.[13]
    • On July 6, 2004, at least 17 people were killed and 28 injured when three vehicles were swept into the Alaknanda River by heavy landslides triggered by a cloudburst that left nearly 5,000 pilgrims stranded near Badrinath shrine area in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.[14]
    • On 26 July 2005, a cloudburst caused approximately 950 millimetres (37 in) of rainfall in Mumbai.[15] over a span of eight to ten hours; the deluge completely paralysed India's largest city and financial centre, leaving over 1,000 dead. Half of the flooding was caused due to the blockage sewers in many parts of Mumbai.<

      The uplands adjacent to the Front Range of Colorado and the streams which drain the Front Range are subject to occasional cloudbursts and flash floods. This weather pattern is associated with upslope winds bringing moisture northwestward from the Gulf of Mexico.[39]

      See also

      References

      1. ^ International Glossary of Hydrology. World Meteorological Organization and UNESCO. 2011. Archived from the original on 2005-11-03.
      2. ^ a b c d e f "It was a cloudburst, says weather scientest". news.saakaltimes.com. Retrieved 2010-11-04.
      3. ^ "What is a cloudburst?". Rediff News, India. August 1, 2005.
      4. ^ "Cloud Burst over Leh (Jammu & Kashmir)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-15.
      5. ^ "Cloudburst in Ladakh, India". articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com. August 9, 2010. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
      6. ^ "Trágicas inundaciones en La Plata". tormentasdebuenosaires.blogspot.com.ar/. April 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-13.
      7. ^ "Records_clim". Meteo.fr. Archived from the original on 2010-06-06. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
      8. ^ a b Cloudburst In The Leh, WorldSnap, retrieved 9 September 2012
      9. ^ Cloudburst In The Subcontinent Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine Weathernotebook.org
      10. ^ a b c "'Cloud Burst' Breaks 53-year Record". Independent-bangladesh.com. 2009-07-29. Archived from the original on 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
      11. ^ syed akbar (2008-09-28). "Syed Akbar Journalist: Musi Floods 1908: What really happened that fateful day". Syedakbarindia.blog spot.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
      12. ^ "Sorry". Indianexpress.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.[permanent dead link]
      13. ^ Kanwar Yogendra (July 17, 2003). "40 killed in Himachal cloudburst, flash floods". Archived from the original on March 18, 2005.
      14. ^ "6 killed as cloudburst hits kotdwar area". Pakistannewshd.com. 2004-07-06. Retrieved 2012-08-13.