Cherrapunjee – the wettest place on earth – recorded the lowest rainfall in 34 years
According to data obtained from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in Guwahati, Cherrapunjee, also known as Sohra, in Meghalaya received 752.6cm of rainfall in 2013 against the ‘annual normal total rainfall’ of 1126.2cm.
This is the lowest since 1979 and the third lowest since 1962. In 1979, Cherrapunjee received 697.9cm of rainfall. The lowest ever rainfall recorded was 680.7cm in 1962. The highest ever annual rainfall recorded in the place was 2276.3cm in 1974.
Cherrapunjee has recorded less than 1,000 cm of annual rainfall very often in recent years – 901.5cm in 2001, 975.5cm in 2005, 873.2cm in 2006, 872.3cm in 2009 and 752.6cm last year.
The hill station sports a number of cement plants owing to rich deposits of limestone all around.
A section of environmentalists blames the dry run on the large-scale felling of trees for limestone mining. Industrialisation is believed to be another factor.
However, an IMD scientist attributed the trend to the shift of the monsoon low-pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal towards central India and north peninsula among others.
“The prime reason for deficit monsoon rainfall over the north-east was formation of above normal monsoon low-pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal and subsequent passage of those systems across central India and north peninsula,” scientist Sunit Das of IMD Guwahati told dna.
“A major contribution to Cherrapunjee’s annual total rainfall comes from the south-west monsoon season. The station received 506 cm rainfall during 2013 south-west monsoon season which eventually led to one of the leanest rainfall year,” he said.