Early rain & hail prediction spells trouble for farmers

By Times Of India on 11 Feb 2018
Pune: The first spell of unseasonal rain is set to hit the state earlier than usual this year with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) warning of rain, hail and thunderstorms between February 11 and 13.
The unseasonal rains usually do not lash the state before February-end. Thier early arrival is a matter of concern for the farmers, who currently have standing Rabi and horticultural crops in the field. They have been advised to harvest the produce as soon as possible. The vegetable farmers in the state have already had a bad season, with the production falling by 15 lakh tonne in 2017-18 fiscal year.

The Met department has warned farmers in Madhya Maharashtra to complete Rabi harvesting before February 12. In Marathwada and Vidarbha, farmers have been told to complete harvesting of Rabi crops and mature fruits and vegetables as early as possible. The harvested crops must be stored in safe places and covered with plastic sheets to shield them from the rain.

Explaining the weather phenomenon, IMD officials said the current western disturbance and its interaction with low-level easterlies is likely to cause scattered to fairly widespread precipitation over north and central India, including Maharashtra between February 11 and February 13.

"Usually, thunderstorms, hail and unseasonal rains in the state occur during the end of February, March and April. This year, the activity may be experienced a little earlier. The upcoming rainfall is usual for parts of northwest India, which often experiences winter rains," the official said.

An IMD research last year had said that among other extreme events, unseasonal rains and hailstorms are mostly observed before the monsoon, between March to April. On rare occasions, they came in early, by February- end and mid-May.

Sources in Skymet Weather Services, meanwhile, predicted scattered, light to moderate rain along with thundershowers over stations such as Akola, Parbhani, Nagpur, Wardha, Latur and Nanded between February 11 and 12.