Northeast India has experienced significantly below-average pre-monsoon precipitation since the start of the summer season in March. While unusual, these dry conditions are consistent with the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) long-range summer forecast.
However, the regional weather is expected to become wetter in the coming days, with rainfall and thunderstorms expected across the northeastern states for the next five days and possibly longer.
According to the IMD, light to moderate rainfall will be widespread over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal, and Sikkim over the next five days, from March 25 to 29.
Over the next 24 hours, isolated locations in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Meghalaya may see heavy downpours.
Additionally, on Friday and Saturday, March 25-26, isolated thunderstorms and lightning are expected over Northeast India.
In light of these forecasts, the IMD has issued a yellow warning for the next two days for the entire northeastern region. Moreover, residents are urged to be aware of the local weather situation, especially during thunderstorms, according to the advisory.
These conditions in Northeast India will be caused by southerly winds blowing inland from the Bay of Bengal, towards the Eastern Himalayas, according to The Weather Channel’s met team. Wet weather is expected to continue in some of these states through next Tuesday, March 29.
In terms of temperature, daytime temperatures in Assam-Meghalaya were markedly above normal (by 5.1°C or more) at a few locations, and appreciably above normal (by 3.1°C to 5°C) at a few locations in Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on Thursday, March 24.
Over the next few days, cities in Northeast India such as Itanagar, Guwahati, Imphal, Shillong, and Aizawl are likely to see mostly cloudy skies with one or two spells of rain or thundershowers. According to the IMD, no significant change in these maximum temperatures is expected in the next five days. Meanwhile, since the start of the pre-monsoon season, all of the Northeast India states have received far less precipitation than their respective averages.
Assam’s Kokrajhar, Chirang, Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Bishwanath, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Jorhat, Sibsagar, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, and Cachar; Nagaland’s Paren, Kohima, Mokukchung, Mon, and Longleng; Manipur’s Tamenglong, Imphal, Jiribam, Chandel, and Churachandpur; Thunderstorms with lightning are expected in all of these districts, primarily on March 24-25.
Between March 1 and 24, Arunachal Pradesh received 20 mm of rain (an 85 per cent’ large deficit’ compared to its average of 134.5 mm), Assam 2.5 mm (95 per cent LD), Meghalaya 0.8 mm (98 per cent LD), Nagaland 2.7 mm (92 per cent LD), and Manipur 0.4 mm of rain (an 85 per cent’ large deficit’ compared to its average of 134.5 mm) (99 per cent LD).
However, Mizoram, Tripura, and Sikkim, on the other hand, have received zero millimetres of rain so far this month, but that may change soon due to the impending rain.
Climate Crisis in Northeast India
Northeast India rainfall patterns in the region have changed dramatically over the last century, resulting in the region’s overall drying out. Normal to below-normal rainfall was expected to continue over many parts of northwest and northeast India, according to the India Meteorological Department’s forecast.
The drying of the land, which increases the frequency and intensity of dry periods and droughts, is one aspect of warming that influences rainfall. The combination of increased moisture and drying alters rainfall patterns in unpredictable ways.
Other climatic factors, like increased snowfall in the Eurasian region, have an impact on monsoon rainfall in North East India. Excessive snowfall in Eurasia cools the region’s atmosphere, triggering events that eventually lead to a weak summer monsoon season.
Future climate scenarios for the region appear bleak, though they should be viewed with caution due to a lack of data. They show a rise in temperatures and rainfall, despite evidence of a decrease in rainfall over the last century.
Temperatures in the region are expected to rise by 1.8-2.1 degrees Celsius by the end of 2030, according to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
The flow of rivers, the extent of snow cover, and the health of mountain springs are all affected by the changing rainfall pattern, which has an impact on livelihoods, particularly agriculture and fishing, forest flora growth, animal and bird habitat (and behaviour), and other ecosystem aspects.