BHOPAL CENTRAL CHRONICLE
Bhopal, May 25 Though the rainy season has yet to begin in Madhya Pradesh, monsoon-like showers in the state capital rendered ineffective the ‘Nautapa’ – a period of supposedly extreme summer heat.
Day temperature dipped in other stations as well. A meteorological department official said squalls plus rain would continue for two or three days and in some places a weather warning was issued.
In Bhopal, clouds darkened the skies in the latter part of the day and a windy downpour lasted an hour.
The city recorded a high of 34.9 deg C, four notches below normal, while overnight precipitation was 3 cm.
Day temperature ranged between 32-38 C in other stations while the ‘Nautapa’ days usually witness the mercury shooting past 43 C.
The cantonment town of Jabalpur was the coolest at 32 C, ten marks below normal, and Sheopur was the hottest at 43 C.
The wet spell is likely to continue for two or three days in Madhya Pradesh due to the influence of upper air cyclonic circulating over coastal Orissa.
Precipitation was recorded in almost all parts of the state over the past 10 days. Life was thrown off kilter at several stations owing to squalls and brief downpours.
Regional Meteorological Centre Director D P Dubey said the circulation was causing showers in Orissa and neighbouring Chhattisgarh as well. “Squalls accompanied by rain are likely to continue over the next two to three days in this state, especially the southern parts,” he added.
Lightning hits DD tower
TV broadcasts were briefly obstructed this evening after the Bhopal DD Kendra’s transmission tower, on Shyamla Hills, was struck by lightning. “Some equipment got charred,” said Superintending Engineer S R Chouhan. “The broadcast was obstructed between 1730-1750 hrs on DD One and between 1732-1813 hrs on the regional circuit.”
No heat during ‘Nautapa’
The first day of ‘Nautapa’- or nine days of extreme heat – remained cool on Thursday due to overcast sky and strong winds.
Unseasonal rains during the last few days have already brought down temperatures and the sun which emerged from the clouds only for brief periods could not unleash its heat.
This has been intrpreted by weather experts and astrologers as a clear sign that this year the monsoon will be weak.
They aver that extreme heat during ‘Nau Tapa’ is the harbinger of a good monsoon and when ‘Nau Tapa’ is disturbed or rainfall is recorded during this period the chances of a normal monsoon dwindle.
People in picnic mood
The continuing rainy spell during the sizzling month of May has unexpectedly made the weather pleasant and people who were suffering in the scorching heat are taking this opportunity to enjoy themselves.
An increased number of visitors can been seen at the Boat Club, Van Vihar Zoo and picnic spots and parks in the city. Normally during the nautapa hardly anybody dares venture out of his house at noon. But nowadays at midday the parks are full of people.
The pleasant change in the weather has also brought much relief to the denizens of Van Vihar. The animals that look clumsy and tired during the hot spell are once again lively and active, much to the delight of the National Park visitors.
Tough for slum dwellers
Unseasonal rains during the last five days, have turned several low-lying slum areas in the city into waterlogged quagmires. The thatch of many slum houses has been blown off by gales and the houses have become roofless.
Many slum dwellers had their possessions damaged as water entered their shanties. The residents of these slum are also finding it hard to move about through the water and mud.
Relief for farmers
Agriculturists are advising farmers to take advantage of the unseasonal rainy spell. The moisture will aid farmers in preparing their fields for the next crop. They can also turn their lands to raising green fodder for their cattle. Director of Agriculture R S Manral, said that the unseasonal rainfall was a gift of God for farmers.
He said the fall in temperature would help farmers plough their fields to make them more fertile. The herbs that have sprung up due to the rains would also boost the fertility of the fields.
This is the ideal time for growing fodder for animals, he averred. Fodder crops that can be sown in this period include Jowar, Maize and Lobia.
Does ‘Nautapa’ rain result in a poor monsoon?
When it rains during ‘Nautapa’ – nine days of extreme summer heat – people are often worried about whether the monsoon will be healthy but meteorological department statistics reveal that such precipitation has no effect whatsoever on the rainy season.
If Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita – the ancient Indian astrological treatise – is to be trusted, ‘Nautapa’ is just a natural process. “During this period, the Sun enters the constellation of Rohini,” says astrologer Sunil Joshi Junnarkar. The earth’s heating up to ferocious levels during ‘Nautapa’ apparently ensures a healthy monsoon. If it rains during these nine days, claims Junnarkar, the year’s monsoon will to be weak.
A look at the last decade’s statistics reveals that this has not always been true. Madhya Pradesh’s average precipitation is about 800 mm.
In 1996, which witnessed a dry ‘Nautapa’ from May 24 to June 1, 992.7 mm rainfall was recorded. The following year, the mercury shot up to 43.7 deg C in May but it showered on six of the ‘Nautapa’ days. Lo and behold the state received 817.8 mm of monsoon precipitation.
Cut to 1998 – a dry ‘Nautapa’ and 857.5 mm. The subsequent year saw two wet days between May 20-28 and the total rain recorded until September was 832.4 mm.
In 2000, the last day of ‘Nautapa’ was graced by a drizzle and subsequent rainfall was 419.5 mm. The following year saw three days’ showers in ‘Nautapa’, precipitation measuring 775.5 mm followed. Five days’ precipitation during the 2002 ‘Nautapa’ led to only 440.4 mm of rain.
The following year’s ‘Nautapa’ was dry but the rain god wasn’t pleased and only 584.8 mm showered on the state.
The 2004 figures were three days’ rain and 599.3 mm of monsoon. Last year, the mercury soared to a record 44.9 C on May 25. But the monsoon recorded only 548.2 mm.