Thursday, April 20, 2017

Training program on "Earthquake and Landslide Management' at Darjeeling (20-22Apr2017)

The program is being organized by the Govt of W Bengal and SaveTheHills is facilitating the attendance of 6 participants from Kalimpong to attend the 3 day course. In addition, 4 civil engineering students from SMIT, Majitar (Sikkim) will be attending the event on 21Apr2017

Praful Rao,
Kalimpong dist.
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya


Sunday, April 16, 2017

STH Stormwatch : Cyclone 'Maarutha' is born (16Apr2017) and its early demise (Update of 17Apr2017)

The storm in the Bay of Bengal intensified into a full blown cyclone and was christened 'MAARUTHA' today. This is the first named storm of the 2017 Northern Hemisphere Tropical Cyclone season.

Update of 17Apr2017 (Extracts from JTWC bulletin)
' SATELLITE IMAGERY SHOWS THE SYSTEM HAS MADE LANDFALL NEAR TOUNGUP AND IS RAPIDLY DECAYING.'
JTWC has also issued its final warning on the cyclone considering it no longer significant.


Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Friday, April 14, 2017

STH Stormwatch : The FIRST storm of 2017 (in the Bay of Bengal)

Location of Low pressure area is approximate

Update from JTWC  (1330h / 14Apr2017)
JTWC has upgraded the warning from LOW to MEDIUM and extract is reproduced below :-
'GLOBAL MODELS ARE IN AGREEMENT ABOUT THE SYSTEM CONTINUING TO DEVELOP RAPIDLY AND TRACK TO THE NORTH-NORTHEAST. MAXIMUM SUSTAINED SURFACE WINDS ARE ESTIMATED AT 20 TO 25 KNOTS. MINIMUM SEA LEVEL PRESSURE IS ESTIMATED TO BE NEAR 1005 MB. THE POTENTIAL FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A SIGNIFICANT TROPICAL CYCLONE WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS IS UPGRADED TO MEDIUM.'

Update of 15Apr2017 (JTWC)

Update of 15Apr2017 (IMD)IMD has categorized the storm as a DEPRESSION now (morning inference) and forecasts the storm to intensify further into a deep depression and move towards the north Myanmar coast in the next 72hrs


Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Rainfall data of Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya : March 2017



The precipitation of Mar2017 was a welcome phenomenon. In our region the rainfall,snow and even the hail was moderate with no landslides or casualties reported and the rain brought a relief from the forest fires, the acute water shortage and came as a welcome break for those involved in farming and horticulture.
And even though IMD predicts higher than normal temps in our region in the pre-monsoon period, temperatures here are below normal, ranging from cool to even cold.
It snowed in Sandakhpu , Darjeeling around the 11Mar2017 (see image below).

The most disconcerting event was of course the 4.5M earthquake of 27Mar2017 epi-centred 25km northeast of Kalimpong, near Pakyong (Sikkim) - see previous post.

Rainfall data collection and tabulation - Rohan Rao

Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Monday, March 27, 2017

Earthquake report: 27Mar2017, NE of Kalimpong

Date of Occurence:
27/03/2017
Time:
03:12:09 HRS(IST)
Intensity:
SLIGHT
Magnitude:
4.6
Depth:
10 KM
Epicentre:
Lat. 27.3°N Long.88.6°E
Region:
EAST SIKKIM


 As per the above report the intensity is 'Slight' but mark my words, we were jolted out of bed in Kalimpong by a strong but momentary shake  at approx 3.15am which knocked off the power supply for about 20 mins. The epicenter was 26.1km NE of Kalimpong, near Pakyong.
5hrs later at 8.10am, we have not received any report of casualties or damage.

Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya


Saturday, March 25, 2017

How to convert your smartphone into an Early Warning (EW) device

1. I was tracking the storm (Slide 1) over Nepal last evening on this IMD website and had to resist an urge to post it on STH's  'Hazard Alert', What'sApp group because I was not too sure of the movement of the storm.
2. Having tracked storms on broad band internet for over 5 -7yrs now ( see 1, 2), I am cautious about creating panic or apprehension by uploading inaccurate weather forecasts - nevertheless because of the prevailing westerly upper winds, I was more or less certain that the storm would reach us if it did not dissipate elsewhere. Where I was wrong was in the timing - I expected the storm to reach us in 2 hrs.
3. Six hrs later, at 3.30am this morning, I was woken up by the sound of driving rain, followed by loud peals of thunder and lightning. A glance at the IR satellite imagery (Slide 2) on my smartphone told me that the storm had arrived over us.
4. It dumped almost 40mm of rain in as much time which gives an approx intensity of 60mm/hr - an intensity which can trigger off landslides if the precipitation is sustained.
5. But here is the bottom line :-
a. Updated satellite imagery (IMD updates its images every 30mins) together with cloud movement animation and other web - based info (like Lightning Location) can provide us with powerful tools to give us EW info on  storm movements.
b. Major weather events like cyclones and hurricanes give ample warning (5-6 days)
c. Minor weather events like local storms generated by micro-climates are often the only ones which do NOT show up on satellite imagery.
d. I rely a lot on IMD satellite imagery but there are many others which I hop to when IMD website is down (eg. Bangladesh and Nepal meteorological dept websites)
6. While all this is pertinent to hydrological events only, one need not wait for the next BBC weather bulletin to check the forecast
- instead just convert your smart phone into an early warning device!

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya


Friday, March 24, 2017

STH activity and all about bees (CNN)

      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
From CNN (20Mar2017)

'Pollinators, a diverse group that includes insects and animals such as birds and bats, are under threat because of widespread pesticide use, climate change, the emergence of foreign pests, diseases and habitat loss. Between April 2015 and April 2016, beekeepers in the United States lost 44 percent of their colonies and in the UK, beekeepers reported losses of almost 17 percent, according to the British Beekeepers Association'.
Read full story here

Note :- The quote on 'Bees' on the image above is attributed to Einstein, but many believe that there is no substantive evidence that he did make this statement.

Praful Rao
Kalimpong,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya