After untimely rain, hailstorms in store  in Vidarbha and Marathwada
After untimely rain, hailstorms in store in Vidarbha and Marathwada

Mumbai: After untimely rains accompanied by thunderstorm and lightning, some areas of Vidarbha and Marathwada regions in Maharashtra are likely to witness hailstorms in the next two days, in view of the moisture-laden winds from the Bay of Bengal, according to a forecast by the India Meteorological Department on Wednesday. According to IMD officials, an alert has been issued for farmers in these regions, as this weather occurence could pose a threat to the standing rabi crops.

"Due to likely southwestward shifting of the wind discontinuity zone, Vidarbha, Central Maharashtra and Marathwada are likely to experience thunderstorm/ lightning/ hailstorm activities," an IMD official said.

Private weather agency Skymet said on its website: "The intensity of rain by itself may not be harmful to the crops but the combination of wind and hailstorm does prove detrimental, more often than not. As such any unseasonal epoch wields more probability of foul weather at this time of the year. This umbrella weather activity having a large span will be under the influence of multiple systems acting in tandem and reinforcing support."

As predicted by the IMD last week, Gondia and Nagpur districts in the Vidarbha region received thundershowers and lightning on Tuesday. Light to moderate rainfall was witnessed in Aurangabad and Jalna on Wednesday. However, the rainfall alert has now been upgraded, as there are chances of hailstorms over Vidarbha and Marathwada in the next two days.

"The upper air pressure is around 650 Hectopascal (hPa), leading to over 50 per cent chances of a hailstorm in the Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. If the pressure drops even to 50 hPa, there will definitely be a hailstorm over the same region. We are closely monitoring the situation," said an IMD official.

Moisture-laden winds brought Gondia district seven milimetres of rain and Nagpur recorded 0.2 mm on Tuesday. There could be light showers in neighbouring districts as well. The official added: "The trough developed over Maharashtra's eastern region is shifting away from the state. The possibility of thunderstorms and hail has been predicted for Thursday and Friday."

"There could be thunderstorms associated with lightning and light to moderate spell of rain along with the possibility of hailstorms at isolated places over interior districts of Maharashtra. From February 18, the effect will reduce," said K S Hosalikar, IMD.

Meanwhile, weather enthusiasts at Skymet added: "Weather conditions will turn benign from February 20 onwards for the entire region."

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