Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 118 Issue 5 October 2009 pp 441-466
The weather systems that predominantly affect the eastern and northeastern parts of India during the pre-monsoon summer months (March,April and May)are severe thunderstorms,known as Nor ’westers.The storms derive their names from the fact that they frequently strike cities and towns in the southern part of West Bengal in the afternoon from the north-west direction while traveling far from its place of genesis over the Bihar plateau.The storms are devastating in nature particularly due to strong (gusty)winds,heavy rains and hails associated with it.Although these storms are well known for its power of causing damages,studies on them are relatively few due to their small size and sparse network of observations.To address this important issue,the evolution of two Nor ’westers of 12 March and 22 May 2003 over Kolkata is studied in detail in this paper using hourly Doppler weather radar (DWR)observations and high resolution Meteosat-5 imageries.In addition,supporting meteorological reports are used to ﬁnd the large scale conditions that inﬂuence the moisture convergence and vertical wind shear.The genesis of both the storms is found to be over Bihar –Jharkhand region and beyond the range of the DWR.The satellite observations are found to be useful in identifying the location and initiation of the storms.The movements of the storms are captured by the DWR estimated vertical cross-section of reﬂectivities.The Doppler estimate shows that the 12 March storm had a vertical extent of about 10 –12 km at the time of maturity and that of 22 May reaching up to 18 km signifying deep convection associated with these events.The genesis, maturity and dissipation are well brought out by the hourly DWR and satellite imageries.The DWR observations suggest that the systems move at a speed of 20 –25 m/s.The DWR estimated precipitation shows a detailed spatial distribution around Kolkata with several localized zones of heavy rain and this is found to be well supported by the nearby station observations.This study establishes that DWR observations along with hourly satellite imageries are able to capture the evolution of Nor ’westers.The study also shows that the composite DWR-satellite information is a reliable tool for nowcasting the location,time and path of movement of Nor ’westers.Based on these observations,a conceptual model of the Nor ’wester is proposed.
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