Over 20 people have been killed in the destruction caused by cloudbursts and flash floods in different parts of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand recently.
- A cloudburst is a localised but intense rainfall activity. Short spells of very heavy rainfall over a small geographical area can cause widespread destruction, especially in hilly regions where this phenomenon is the most common.
- A cloudburst has a rainfall of 10 cm or more in an hour over a roughly 10 km x 10-km area is classified as a cloudburst event.
- Cloudbursts are not uncommon events, particularly during the monsoon months.
- Most of these happen in the Himalayan states where the local topology, wind systems, and temperature gradients between the lower and upper atmosphere facilitate the occurrence of such events.
- Specific cloudburst events cannot be forecast.
- No forecast ever mentions a possibility of a cloudburst.
- But there are warnings for heavy to very heavy rainfall events, and these are routinely forecast four to five days in advance.