The desert state of Rajasthan witnessed an extraordinary meteorological event in May, as it recorded its highest rainfall in over a century. According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the state received 62.4 mm of rainfall, surpassing the average May rainfall of 13.6 mm.
This remarkable feat, which hasn't been witnessed since World War I, is a significant milestone in Rajasthan's weather history. Interestingly, the highest-ever recorded rainfall for the month of May in Rajasthan was 71.9 mm in 1917, during the time of Mahatma Gandhi's Satyagraha at Champaran.
More than 350% rainfall received in May
The total rainfall received in May was a staggering 358% above the average, with east Rajasthan experiencing 328% excess rainfall, and west Rajasthan receiving a remarkable 381% surplus. The abundance of rainfall can be attributed to the consecutive occurrence of western disturbances (WDs), weather systems originating in the Mediterranean and traversing Asia. May witnessed the arrival of eight WDs, with the latter half of the month impacting central and western India more significantly.
Meteorological factors: Western disturbances and moisture
The incessant rainfall in Rajasthan can be attributed to the convergence of deep troughs associated with the WDs and an ample supply of moisture from the Arabian Sea. The combination of these factors resulted in heavy downpours and thunderstorm activity across northwest India. D. S. Pai, a senior IMD scientist, highlighted the possibility of such conditions persisting for another one to two days, underscoring the unprecedented nature of the rainfall.
Record-breaking rainfall in Bikaner
The city of Bikaner experienced an exceptional deluge, with a record-breaking rainfall of 72.8 mm observed on May 29. This surpassed the previous highest recorded rainfall in Bikaner, which was 63.1 mm in 1999. Notably, all 33 districts in Rajasthan received large excess rainfall, with departures from the average exceeding 60%, making May 2023 a historic month in terms of precipitation.