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Western Disturbances: The reason for unseasonal rains and hailstorms

Recently, hailstorms and heavy rains were witnessed across a sizable portion of the nation. Standing crops have been severely damaged in various regions, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Punjab, as a result of hail and rain.

A type of solid precipitation is hail. Even though the two are sometimes mistaken, it is different from ice pellets. It is made up of hailstones, which are ice balls or other irregularly shaped lumps. Ice pellets typically fall when it is cold outside, but hail growth is significantly slowed down when it is cold outside. 

Numerous western disturbances (WD), other WD-associated weather systems, and numerous troughs—extended low-pressure areas— were produced as a result of the interaction of the WDs and related systems with winds coming in from the east, primarily the Bay of Bengal, were to blame for the rainfall and storms. The heavy storm activity and rain could possibly be caused by a warmer Arabian Sea. The IMD also attributed the storm activity to a strong subtropical westerly jet stream, a band of winds that surrounds the planet’s subtropical areas in the top layers of the troposphere. The production of hail was helped by the entry of moisture-laden winds from the Bay of Bengal and the lowering of the freezing level in the atmosphere.

Northwest India experiences unexpected rains (non-monsoonal), snow, and fog from extra-tropical storms that originate in the Caspian or Mediterranean Seas, an area of low pressure. These move from west to east along the vast, swift-moving westerly jet streams that traverse at high altitudes.

In northwest India, they are responsible for the majority of the winter and pre-monsoon precipitation. In agriculture, precipitation during the winter months is crucial, especially for rabi crops. Over-precipitation brought on by disturbances in the west can harm crops and result in landslides, floods, and avalanches.

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