Extreme weather claimed 350 lives in Maharashtra in 2021

As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), over 30 districts in Maharashtra witnessed a flood-like situation in 2021 as the state faced maximum heavy rainfall and intense rainfall events in India. Extreme events like cyclone and thunderstorms were also reported. Pune district also reported extreme climatic conditions during the last year, as per the weather department.

Senior officials from the ministry of earth sciences (MoES) inaugurated websites and four new radars across India during the 147th foundation day celebration of IMD on Friday. Details of the vulnerability atlas were published on the occasion.

In 2021, 350 people in Maharashtra lost their lives due to cyclone Tauktae, cyclone gulab, flooding, lightning and thunderstorm and other extreme weather events. Of the 350 people, 215 died due to flooding as per IMD data. Maharashtra in 2021 reported 20 per cent deaths from across India due to extreme weather events.

As per the weather department officials, 1,750 deaths were reported from across the country due to weather hazards in 2021, with 43 per cent deaths due to flooding and 45 per cent due to thunderstorms and lightning.

According to the standardised precipitation index for the period January to December 2021, Pune district is mildly wet. Other districts in the state reported either mildly wet or more.

Speaking about the atlas, P Guhathakurta, head of IMD’s Climate Data Management and Services, said there are 13 hazard categories differentiated into two categories — hazard and vulnerability.

“We have tried to include all weather hazards, including flooding, thunderstorms and lightning, cold and heat waves. In the vulnerability data, we have included hazards which have caused at least one death between 1969 and 2020,” said Guhathakurta.

He said vulnerability from cyclones are also added in the atlas.

“We have used population density and housing density for cyclone vulnerability as per the last district wise census,” he said.

Continuous rainfall in 2021 caused the cumulative standardised precipitation index (SPI) values of the past twelve months to indicate extremely wet-severely wet conditions over Konkan and Goa, central Maharashtra and Marathwada.

Weather calamity

Deaths in Maharashtra due to extreme weather events in 2021

Cyclone Tauktae and Cyclone Gulab: 56

Flooding: 215

Thunderstorm and lightning: 76

Other events (cold wave, dust storm, gale, hailstorm and snowfall): 3

Total: 350

Total deaths across India: 1,750

Source: IMD

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