Cloudburst: A Sudden Fear and Terror
You are here
Home > India > Cloudburst: A Sudden Fear and Terror

Cloudburst: A Sudden Fear and Terror


Recently a natural threat peep in man’s psyche, this is not only the scientists of all regions but also every people. The name of the villain is Cloudburst, a natural calamity, which has a power to smash many people’s life in a moment. It is a threat as it overwhelm the whole area where its’ take place and slay a great number of people. Several suffered people face this terrific calamity and at the same time fortunate as they get their life back. But this horrible experience makes their life spoil for a time.

cloudburst destruction

In this year on July, 1 in Uttarakhand cloudburst struck and more than 20 people died and many were homeless. In this year on 8th May incessant rainfall caused damage in Uttarakhand but fortunately no casualties reported. In 2014 cloudburst claimed almost 200 lives and over 1, 84,000 people were rescued. Now we can’t guess which region or which place is the next target in front of cloudburst.

Mass in the whole world bother about this sudden collision and the scientists try to predict this but it is very unfortunate to know that there are no acceptable techniques for forecasting the incidence of a cloudburst because of their small scale. Only the areas which receive heavy rainfall can be recognized on a short-range scale.

Consequently, this is a calamity which is unexpected and the cloudburst prone areas fear much in the mean time of monsoon (approximate time of cloudburst). At this instant many queries appear in various peoples’ wits about this sudden dread.

Now a question arises: What is Cloudburst?

A cloudburst is a high power rainfall, which normally last for few minutes but in this few minutes it successful to do its terrible job. It’s creating a flood like condition in the area. Actually it is an unpredicted very aggressive rainstorm falling for a short period of time limited to a small geographic area.

Sometimes the cloudburst is mixed with hail & thunder. Meteorologists (who study with atmosphere phenomena) say usually the rain is like shower type and when it fall, the rate of the rainfall may be 100 mm or above than 100. In a minute more than 2 cm rain may fall from cloudburst. They are called ‘bursts’ because it was believed earlier those clouds were concrete ample full of water. So, these violent storms were attributed to their bursting.

Cloudburst can suddenly dump 72,300 tons of water over one square acre. A real cloudburst is very rare. Luckily it doesn’t happen regularly. Sometimes we call a heavy shower in the mountain a cloudburst but actually it is not so. The overflow of the slop creates flood which seems that a cloud has burst open like a paper bag.

What causes a Cloudburst?

Cloudburst also coupled with thunderstorms. Most air mass thunderstorms consist of agglomerations of several thunderstorm clouds. The air current rushing upwards in a rainstorm which carry a large quantity of water and if the current cease suddenly the whole amount of water fall down on a small area with catastrophic force which causes a enormous devastation. This natural phenomenon is known as cloudburst. Cloudburst falls from very high altitude, so the force of cloudburst is so powerful. In real cloudburst does not break open as the rain which is in cloud, unable to fall down in a shower. When the cloud is ready for raining and the land of a particular area going to be hot and sometimes a hot air current moving under the cloud then it’s started a heavy rain.

Assuming that the rising motion and condensations are achieved, the initial stage, called the cumulus stage, of a thunderstorm cloud consists of an updraft throughout the cell. In the higher at a freezing level a mixture of ice crystals and water droplets exists. Then this beginner stage, ice crystals process of a rain formation. If the rain water developed and it forms in the upper portion of the cloud, the updraft is strong enough to prevent them from falling. When the load of rain drops increases then the updraft has no power to hold it in it, it begins fall down.

In the mature stage, the rain when it is falling down it is moved by the nearby air and a downdraft forms within the cloud. In its final stage, the cloud is characterized by sinking motion throughout, with only light rain at the surface. The success of the cloud in producing rain is responsible for its end; the downdraft spreads throughout the cloud. In a sense, the cloud collapses on itself, leading to a cloudburst.

Weather scientist Varun Joshi of Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi said any rainfall above 120 mm per hour is forceful. But when this amount of rain or more than it falls in an hour or less, it is called a cloudburst.

Which places it’s mostly happen?

Mostly cloudbursts occur in the dry places like deserts and also the hill stations or mountainous provinces. Cloudbursts can also happen in the internal part of the country. In is seen during the monsoon. Himachal Pradesh is one of the cloudburst hit areas, as it’s placed in a higher altitude area.  Also villages in those areas are suffered much, the natives lost their homes and possessions. The area devastated and many died.

cloudburst damage

 Cloudburst in India:

In the Indian subcontinent, a cloudburst usually occurs when a pregnant monsoon cloud drifts northwards, from the Bay of Bengal or Arabian Sea across the plains, then onto the Himalaya and bursts, bringing rainfall as high as 75 millimeters per hour.

It is frequently happen in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The monsoon rains during July and August put a lot of water into the Himalayan soil.

uttarakhand cloudburst


August 31, 1960

Himachal Pradesh received 250 millimeters of rain in 3 hrs in Mandi and Suketi. It takes 103 lives.

July, 1970

Cloudburst in the upper catchment’s area led to a 15 meter rise in Alakananda River in Uttarakhand. Entire river basin, from Hanumanchatti near Badrinath to Haridwar, affected.

August 15, 1997

115 people were killed when a cloud burst came bustling and trail of death are all that is left behind in Chirgaon in Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh.

August 17, 1998

Cloudburst at Malpa village in Kali valley killed 250 people including 60 kailash Mansarovar pilgrims in Kali valley of the Kumaon division, Uttarakhand. Among the dead was Odissi dancer Protima Bedi.

July 16, 2003

40 persons were killed in flash cloudburst at Shilagarh in Gursa area of Kullu, Himachal Pradesh.

July 6, 2004

At least 17 people were killed and 28 injured when three vehicles were swept into the Alaknanda river by heavy landslides triggered by a cloudburst that left nearly 5,000 pilgrims stranded near Badrinath shrine area in Chamoli district, Uttarakhand.

July 26, 2005

Approximately 950 mm of rainfall was recorded in Mumbai over a span of eight to ten hrs; the deluge completely paralyzed India’s financial centre.

August 16, 2007

52 people were confirmed dead when a severe cloud burst occurred in in Bhavi village in Ghanvi, Himachal Pradesh.

August 7, 2009

38 people were killed in a landslide resulting from a cloudburst in Nachni area near Munsiyari in Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand.

August 6, 2010

 Cloudbursts in Leh take 179 persons dead and over 400 injured in the frontier Leh town of Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir.

September 15, 2010

Cloud burst in Almora in Uttrakhand has drowned away two villages one of them being Balta,leaving a few people alive and rest entire village dead and drowned. While rescue operations are still on, there is a very less probability for people to be left alive. Almora has been declared as a town suffering from the brunt of cloudburst by authorities of Uttrakhand. Had there been a bit more swaying of clouds, town of Ranikhet must have drowned also.

September 29, 2010

A cloudburst in NDA (National Defence Academy), Khadakwasla, Pune, in Maharashtra state left many injured and hundreds of vehicles and buildings damaged.

October 4, 2010

4 dead and many injured due to cloudburst in Pashan, Pune, Maharashtra.

June 9, 2011

A cloudburst took 4 pedoples lives near Jammu.

July 20, 2011

In upper Manali cloudburst left 2 dead and 22 missing.

September 15, 2011

In the Palam area of the National Capital Territory of Delhi received record rainfall in the city since 1959. No calamities recorded.

September 14, 2012

A cloudburst in Rudraprayag killed 39 people.

June 15, 2013

Over 1000 killed and almost 84,000 people stranded for many days. One of the largest human rescue missions in the history was launched by the Indian Army and its Northern Command. But according to a news report it was not a cloudburst, it was caused because of the trouble of two glaciers near Kedarnath.

July 30, 2014

A landslide killed 20 people in a small village of Malin in Pune district.

July 31, 2014

4 people killed in Tehri district in Uttarakhand.

September 6, 2014

A cloudburst took life of more than 200 people in Kashmir Valley. Almost 1, 84,000 people were rescued.

May 8, 2016

Incessant rainfall caused damage in Tharali and Karnprayag in Uttarakhand but no casualties reported.

July 1, 2016

The recent cloudburst in Uttarakhand killed more than 20 lives and created havoc damage in various districts of Uttarakhand.

rescue operation

Not only in India but also the whole world specially the desert places and mountainous areas which are the cloudburst prone areas endure much and the areas and regions totally demolish by cloudburst. The heavy rainfall swept away a region in a minute and shatter agricultural lands, homes etc. It’s able to drop down the economy in a state or might be a country. That’s why Cloudburst, it is a sudden fear to all of the mass or the whole world.

Suchismita Biswas
Pen is mightier than swords - these words make me passionate about writing. Except writing I love to travel , love to explore the unknown places, love photography and love listening to music. Also I am an avid reader of books. I'm a simple girl but I am what I am.

Leave a Reply