South Asian monsoon floods

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  • Forecast rainfall (land only) over south Asia from 00GMT on Saturday until 12GMT on Thursday in mm. Credit MeteoGroup.

  • South Asian monsoon floods
    02.09.2017 17:05

    This summer’s monsoon season has brought catastrophic flooding to South Asia, claiming over 1400 lives and damaging or destroying 950,000 homes since June this year due to repeated torrential rains. Over 41 million people have been affected by the flooding.

    Bangladesh, Nepal and north-eastern India have been particularly badly affected.  The severe flooding has caused landslides, washed away houses and submerged large areas of farmland, leading to fears of food shortages. Across south Asia, 18,000 schools have been reported as damaged or destroyed, preventing 1.8 million children from attending school.

    In Bangladesh, one third of the country is said to be underwater and more than 51,000 people are reported to be currently housed in emergency food shelters. The floods could devastate this season’s rice harvest due to many areas of farmland being destroyed.

    Meanwhile, in India severe flooding has been particularly bad in the north-east of the country, with over 3000 villages submerged. On Tuesday 29th August, persistent, torrential rain fell in Mumbai, turning streets into rivers, some waist-deep, with floodwater becoming contaminated with sewage. The flooding has also been blamed for the collapse of a building in the city on Thursday 31st August which killed 34 people, as floodwater weakened the buildings foundations.

    The south Asian monsoon season runs from June to September and is part of a large atmospheric circulation across the region, whereby heating of the south Asian continent during the spring and summer creates low pressure over northern India. This drives the south-westerly monsoon winds across the Indian Ocean which bring moist air into south Asia. This moist air condenses and produces heavy rainfall when it meets the south Asian landmass, bringing particularly heavy rains to the Himalayan foothills of northern India, Nepal and Bangladesh but this year the monsoon rains have been unusually heavy and persistent.

    The outlook for next week
    Further heavy downpours and thunderstorms are expected through the coming week across south Asia, particularly for southern and eastern India, as well as for Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal. Parts of southern India, along with northern parts of Bangladesh are expected to receive over 100mm of rain quite widely and locally over 200mm, which could exacerbate conditions in the region.

    By: Callum Stewart