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Understanding the causes behind hailstorms

by Editorial Team
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Understanding the causes behind hailstorms

The recent havoc wreaked by heavy rains accompanied by hailstorms in various parts of Manipur has once again drawn attention to the unpredictable and sometimes devastating nature of weather patterns. As tin roofs were pelted with hailstones, and strong winds tore through hutments, communities in various areas of the state were left grappling with the aftermath of nature’s fury.
While such occurrences may seem random, they are often rooted in larger atmospheric dynamics. Hailstorms, in particular, are fascinating yet destructive phenomena that require specific conditions to form. Typically, they occur within severe thunderstorms, where powerful updrafts carry raindrops to higher, colder altitudes within a storm cloud. There, these droplets freeze into hailstones, which can grow in size as they collide with supercooled water droplets. Eventually, these ice pellets become too heavy for the updrafts to support, leading them to fall to the ground.
But what factors contribute to the formation of these severe thunderstorms in the first place? In the case of Manipur and other Northeastern states currently under the Met Department’s orange alert, several atmospheric variables likely play a role. One key factor is the collision of different air masses. For instance, warm, moisture-laden air from the Bay of Bengal may clash with cooler air from the north, creating instability and fueling the development of thunderstorms.
Additionally, topographical features can influence weather patterns in the region. Manipur’s rugged terrain, with its hills and valleys, can act as a trigger for convection, enhancing the upward movement of air and the formation of thunderstorms. Orographic lifting, where air is forced to rise over elevated landforms, can further exacerbate atmospheric instability, potentially leading to more intense storms.
In light of the forecasted weather conditions, the precautionary measures taken by Chief Minister N Biren Singh, including the closure of educational institutions and the establishment of helpline numbers, are commendable. Such proactive steps can help mitigate risks and ensure the safety of residents in vulnerable areas.
However, beyond immediate responses to weather events, it is crucial to consider broader strategies for resilience and adaptation in the face of increasingly erratic weather patterns. This includes investing in infrastructure that can withstand extreme weather, implementing early warning systems, and fostering community preparedness through education and outreach initiatives.
Moreover, addressing the underlying factors driving climate change is paramount in reducing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events like hailstorms. By transitioning to renewable energy sources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and promoting sustainable land use practices, we can mitigate the impacts of climate change and safeguard our communities against future crises.
As we reflect on the recent hailstorm in Manipur, let us not only respond to the immediate aftermath but also work towards building a more resilient and sustainable future in which our communities are better equipped to face the challenges of a changing climate.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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