Weather, July 2: North Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Meghalaya under rain and flood alerts as the monsoon remains active. Most parts of India welcome the monsoons with open arms, anticipating a good crop output and a much-needed relief from the blistering summer heat. However, for east and northeast India, the season brings jitters as the accompanying floods destroy livelihoods, spreads diseases, and displaces lakhs of people every year. Assam, for instance, has witnessed extreme monsoon floods in eight of the last ten years since 2012.
As the monsoon season of 2021 completes a month, the parts of east and northeast India have started to witness severe flood situations. Koshi and Brahmaputra are referred to as the sorrow of Bihar and Assam, respectively. Flood situations in these rivers and rivers like Narayani, Bagmati, Kamla, and Gandak are already severe this year. Further, heavy monsoon rains forecast for the next five days will likely worsen the situation across the region.
Extremely heavy rains forecast
A monsoon trough—an extended low-pressure area—persists from Uttar Pradesh to Assam and Meghalaya. As a result, strong moist southwesterly winds from the Bay of Bengal are expected will bring very heavy rains, with isolated extremely heavy, falls across east and northeast India for the next few days.
As per the TWC met team, rainfall will be especially intense at 150-200 mm range from Friday to Sunday. Local rainfall accumulation could jump up to 300 mm in these three days, followed by several days of 50-80 mm daily rainfall. Total precipitation during this projection period can surpass 400 mm across portions of Assam, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal (SHWB) and adjoining areas, raising the threat of flooding and waterlogging.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast widespread rains with isolated heavy to very heavy monsoon falls over Bihar, North Bengal, Sikkim, Meghalaya and other parts of Northeast India for the next five days. Isolated extremely heavy rainfall is forecast over Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim and northern districts of West Bengal on July 2 and 3.
Accordingly, the national forecaster has kept SHWB, Sikkim, Assam, and Meghalaya under a red warning for Friday and Saturday, while Bihar remains under an orange alert on Friday. A red warning urges residents and authorities to ‘take action’ to minimize the impacts of adverse weather conditions, while an orange alert recommends them to ‘be prepared’.
The water levels have risen sharply across rivers in eastern India mainly due to the incessant heavy rains over the catchment areas in Nepal, Bihar, and northeast India.
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As per the Central Water Commission, severe flood situations have been observed in:
- Bagmati river in Sitamarhi, Sheohar, Muzaffarpur districts of Bihar
- Kamala and Adhwara river in Madhubani and Darbhanga districts of Bihar
- Koshi river in Supaul and Saharsa districts of Bihar
In addition, water levels are also expected to rise in East and West Champaran, Samastipur, Khagaria, Bhagalpur, Kushinagar, Gopalganj, Vaishali, Madhepura, and Katihar districts of Bihar; Jalpaiguri, Coochbihar, and Alipurduar districts in West Bengal as well as Dhubri and Kokrajhar districts of Assam.
As per the Assam Disaster Management Authority, 2,743 people from Dibrugarh and Dibrugarh districts are affected due to the flooding so far this week. Authorities have set up three relief camps so far to shelter the flood victims. No casualties have been reported yet, but 22 houses and 428 hectares of crop area has been damaged in the state.
Last year, repeated bouts of monsoon floods and landslides killed nearly 150 and displaced over five lakh people in the state of Assam.