Excess September rainfall in Maharashtra this year as well
September rains have developed a pattern for intense or extreme monsoon events.
Anushka Vani, Samiksha Sawant | With the monsoon officially coming to an end in India, the country has experienced a total of 925 mm rainfall between June 1 and September 30 this year. As per the data given by the India Meterological Department (IMD), Maharashtra and other southern states of India have experienced large excess (around 60 percent and above) rainfall from the start of September. The excess rainfall, especially in cities like Bengaluru, Delhi and Pune, have been leading to incidents of water logging.
“September rains have developed a pattern for intense or extreme monsoon events, this is majorly because of the favourable systems developing in the south-eastern regions. These systems develop from time to time from the Bay of Bengal and slowly these have travelled from western or north-western regions,” says Anupam Kashyapi, Weather Head at IMD Pune.
This year, Maharashtra received 265.8 mm rainfall in the month of September, which is 47 percent access. For the last consecutive four years, Maharashtra has been experiencing excess rainfall. Moreover, instances of heavier rainfall events towards the end of the monsoon have also been recorded in several parts of the state in the past few years. This year, during mid-september Maharashtra was on severe alert along with other regions like Konkan, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Gangetic region, West Bengal and Gujarat.
Rainfall in Maharashtra from September 1 to 30. Credit: IMD
The intensity of the rainfall for this month is far higher as compared to what it was at the start of the season, that is in June when the rainfall was deficient.
“During the pre-monsoon period to the start of the season up to June-July, Maharashtra faced rainfall deficiency. But after this, the recovery stage started which is why we are facing extreme monsoon events. On the scales of IMD, a balance was achieved. However, on ground level, the picture looked extreme due to the impact,” Kashyapi explained.
September rains in Pune
“Pune’s city area witnessed moderate rainfall which resulted in floods in the low lying areas. But as the dams are full, even with a 3-4 cm water level rise, they had to discharge the accumulated water,” added Kashyapi.
The city also experienced incidents of cloud bursts leaving most of the streets clogged and jammed. Different parts of India have witnessed it. As extreme monsoon events have increased, flash floods have become an issue for cities, with transportation facilities getting blocked due to the clogging of the roads, homes getting inundated and incidents of trees collapsing.
“There are numerous causes for this, but generally speaking, heavy rainfall in a day is growing, and as a result, water doesn't get absorbed in soil which causes surface run-offs leading to floods, says Pune-based urban flooding expert and activist Sarang Yadwadkar.
He added, “The width of rivers is not as broad as before due to the continued encroachments from external factors. Since the width of the river has decreased it causes the water level to rise which in turn leads to floods and these kinds of floods are called fluvial floods. Likewise, the recent floods that we experienced in Pune were because of the rainwater that gets collected on the roads and fails to reach the river bodies due to the incorrect and unmaintained drainage system,” added Yadwadkar.
Impact on agriculture
In Maharashtra, Marathawada, Madhya Maharashtra and Vidharbha are the regions on the access side of the rainfall intensity. India in total has about 36 meteorological subdivisions, out of which Maharashtra has four, so at the sub-divisional level the rainfall is considered to be normal which is in between 81-119 percent.
Though these regions in the state are drought-prone, the crops grown here are naturally drought-prone, but with the access of rainfall some crops like rice are sustained but pulses and others are destroyed. So the rains tend to impact the agricultural sector in these regions.
“Until August it was normal rain but now it is 50 percent more. This is good for crops like rice, but for pulses, it becomes a disaster. This year initially the east-northeast region only got rains in large amounts for June and July, while the rest of the country did not get a good rain, including Maharashtra,” Kashyapi stated.
The Indian Monsoon is officially over as of September 30. However, the withdrawal from Maharashtra is expected to last at least till mid-October.