A western disturbance and its associated cyclonic circulation over Rajasthan, along with troughs feeding on the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, have all colluded to bring rains across almost all parts of the country.
While these pre-monsoon showers are hardly as intense as the peak monsoonal showers, they pack a punch, nevertheless. In the span of one week, the rainfall activity has caused quite a bit of damage country-wide — disrupting everyday life, destroying crops, and even resulting in the loss of life.
And as unseasonal rains and hailstorms battered various parts of India, Maharashtra’s Marathwada seems to have been hit the hardest. The local administration reported that Thursday and Friday’s downpours have killed five persons and damaged crops spread across nearly 4,950 hectares in the region.
The deceased, all from the Parbhani district, lost their lives in different rain-related incidents, while 23 other residents of the region were injured, said the report. Further, 22 large and 5 small animals also perished.
Gujarat also witnessed five deaths just on Friday and has seen at least 12 mortalities since March 4 due to events like lightning strikes. Two people were killed and two were injured after being struck by lightning in Rajasthan on Friday, while a man working on a farm died in the Medta area of Nagaur district in a lightning strike.
Apart from the unfortunate loss of life, many states have also set farmers on edge. Pictures of weather-beaten farms and damaged crops ready for harvest have emerged lately.
With more rains on the cards for India, the government to ask farmers to delay harvesting their crops for the time being.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has asked farmers to postpone the harvest of mustard in Punjab and Haryana and wheat and pulses in central Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
“Postpone harvesting of mustard till the cessation of rains in Punjab and Haryana; if already harvested, store at safe places to avoid losses. Withhold irrigation to wheat crops to avoid lodging,” the IMD said.
The weather office has also recommended using hail nets to protect apple, pear, plum and peach orchards in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and for fruit plantations in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
In the meantime, farmers and the general public are requested to follow Agrimet and other advisories issued by Meteorological Centres (MCs), Regional MCs, District Agrimet Units (DAMU) and Agrimet Field Units (AMFUs) of their respective areas across the country.