Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Respite for Himachal natives: Rainfall in Devbhoomi

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By Srishti Jaswal

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Himachal Pradesh is perhaps one of the roughest terrains in India. Rainfall is the predominant feature of Himachali weather. Rain not only replenishes streams but also refreshes the greenery of hills. Without rain, the cycle of seasons will remain incomplete. During the rainy season which comes as a respite for the natives, the beauty of Devbhoomi Himachal is at its peak.

The grey monsoon clouds against the white sky, floating above the green fresh hills is a mesmerizing sight. Throughout the year, people here wait for the monsoon season as it brings a new life along with it. The vegetation in the hill terrain is totally dependent on these rains.

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Devbhoomi also witnesses plenty of fairs and festivals to welcome the monsoons. They celebrate this season with dancing, singing and feasting. Also, Lord Shiva is worshiped in entire Himachal during the holy month of Shravan.

However, the rainfall isn’t the same every year. Both abundance and scarcity of rain cause problems in the daily lifestyle of Himachali people. A balanced amount of rainfall is necessary for maintaining the beauty of these hills without any risks. High amount of rain can at times result in floods, landslides, etc. disrupting the flow of life.

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In case of heavy rainfall, there is a lot of damage to infrastructure and roads as well. Majority of landslides are triggered by incessant rainfall in Himachal Pradesh. Landslides further affect traffic movement on national highways and other roads. It not only blocks the roads temporarily but also leads to countless puddles. Every year after monsoons, the condition of roads in Himachal Pradesh deteriorates and leads to pathetic transportation facilities. Because of this reason, The Public Works Department is one of the most occupied government offices before, during and after the rainy season. But sadly, Government is usually unable to mend the roads and buildings back to their previous state.

Heavy rainfall affects vegetation and wildlife of Himalayas up to a large extent. Many trees are uprooted and many animals lose their habitat because of landslides. Rain in Himachal Pradesh also leads to soil erosion which reduces the quality of topsoil.

In words of Ramdayal Sharma, a local Himachali farmer, “If with the God’s grace, rainfall is appropriate then the harvest is plenty, there is enough fodder for cattle, tourism is enhanced too and there are no landslides.”

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Himachal is widely known for its streams and rivers. During heavy rainfalls these water bodies are usually flooded. The instances of cloudburst are very frequent in Himachal which also leads to flashfloods. Such flashfloods damage the water supply, drainage and irrigation system of an area.

Due to flooding and poor transportation, tourism is adversely affected in Himachal. The livelihood of many households in Himachal is dependent upon tourism. It holds a major share in economy of state. At times many tourists are struck in valleys of Himachal, which is very dangerous. The rate of road accidents also increases.

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Because of poor transport not only tourism is affected but life of Himachal natives also comes to a stand-still. Tickets and bookings for various buses are also temporarily suspended. People mostly prefer to stay indoors, which disturbs their daily routine.

A school girl, Vaani Sharma describes her inconvenience due to rains as “even Domino’s pizza delivery is delayed because of rain, that is why I hate rainy season.”

The stagnant water acts as a breeding place for many insects, primarily mosquitoes. As a result, many diseases spread during this season which can also turn into epidemics, if not controlled in time.

But if rains are scarce even then problems do occur. Many rivers in Himachal are entirely dependent on rainfall. Fewer rains can disturb irrigation which further is detrimental for agriculture in hills.

Monsoons are therefore very powerful. They can convert quasi semi deserts into vivid green grasslands. They are a blessing for Indian mainland since last 5 million years.

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Next Story

Extreme Weather Due To Polar Vortex Across The U.S. Causes Misery

Forecasters predicted temperatures in the mid-40s F on Sunday and low 50s F on Monday in Chicago.

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USA, Weather
A harbor light is covered with snow and ice on the Lake Michigan at 39th Street Harbor, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago. VOA

Hundreds of millions of Americans spent Wednesday seeking relief from some of the coldest weather ever recorded in the continental United States.

Officials said temperatures were below the freezing mark in 85 percent of the country, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

Chicago recorded a low temperature of about minus 23 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 30 Celsius) — not a record, but close to it. Minneapolis recorded minus 27 F (minus 32 C). In Sioux Falls, S.D., the mercury dropped to minus 25 F (minus 31 C).

Wind chills reportedly made it feel like minus 50 F (minus 45 C) or worse in several parts of the Midwest.

USA`, Weather
A man is bundled up against bitter wind and blowing snow as he operates a snowblower, Jan. 30, 2019, in Buffalo, N.Y. The area received more than a foot of snow since Tuesday and was under a blizzard warning. VOA

 

Downtown Chicago streets were largely deserted after most offices told employees to stay home. Trains and buses operated with few passengers; engineers set fires along tracks to keep commuter trains moving. The hardiest commuters ventured out only after covering nearly every square inch of flesh to protect against the extreme chill, which froze ice crystals on eyelashes and eyebrows in minutes.

The city used transit buses, with nurses on board, as emergency warming centers for the homeless.

Doctors in Minneapolis said they were treating cases of what they called fourth-degree frostbite, in which limbs are frostbitten down to the bone.

Mail carriers, known for making deliveries through rain, sleet and snow, draw the line at life-threatening cold. The U.S. Postal Service canceled mail service in parts of 11 states Wednesday.

USA, Weather
Icicles hang in front of a door at a bar in Mequon, Wisconsin, Jan. 30, 2019 as temperatures were subzero and wind chills were at -50 degrees F. VOA

With nine weather-related deaths reported so far, the cold was spreading east into New England and the mid-Atlantic states. Commuters and schoolchildren could expect to wake up to temperatures in the single or low double digits Fahrenheit in Washington, Baltimore, New York and Boston.

Meteorologists blamed the weather on a breakup of the polar vortex — cold air above the North Pole that has been pushed south across North America because of a blast of desert heat from North Africa.

Experts said it was possible that climate change was playing a part in the extreme cold. But they said it was hard to pinpoint the cause of a single weather event such as this week’s cold blast.

“It is not out of bounds with the historical record,” University of Miami professor Ben Kirtman said. “You get storms that are bigger than other storms. There is a big part of this that is part of the natural variability of the climate.”

Also Read: As Polar Vortex Hits The U.S, Donald Trump Questions Climate Change

Government scientists said increased moisture in the atmosphere because of global warming might bring on a higher number of severe snowstorms in the winter and more powerful hurricanes in the summer.

This week’s cold weather will be just a memory within a few days. Forecasters predicted temperatures in the mid-40s F on Sunday and low 50s F on Monday in Chicago. In Washington, the temperatures are expected to be in the mid- to upper 50s for those two days. (VOA)