Monday, March 01, 2010

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Mercury levels start looking up over north-west India

Maximum and minimum temperatures have risen to around 32 deg Celsius and 16 deg Celsius respectively in Delhi and the neighbourhood to coincide with ‘Holi' festival.

This brings the maximum mercury level in the 30-to-35-deg-Celsius range that is considered ideal for the standing wheat crop. Any sustained spike beyond would have adverse implications for the crop.


And, ‘sustained' is the operative word here, which is in turn linked to the frequency and intensity of the incoming western disturbances, say experts.

Clouding associated with these systems could cap the maximum temperatures even though the night temperatures could tend to look up. The suitably endowed systems (moderately intense) could trigger the occasional light showers, too.

A prevailing western disturbance is active over the western Himalayan region. It will affect the hilly for two more days, according to an outlook by India Meteorological Department (IMD).

Satellite imagery on Sunday showed convective clouds (capable of precipitating rain or snow) over Jammu and Kashmir. Low and medium clouds (partly clouded conditions) were seen over parts of rest northwest India and northeast India.

Meanwhile, a fresh western disturbance is likely to affect northwest India from Wednesday, the IMD said. Forecast until Wednesday said that fairly widespread moderate to rather heavy rain or snow would occur over Jammu and Kashmir during the next two days and decrease thereafter.

Fairly widespread light to moderate rain or snow would occur over Himachal Pradesh too during this period. Isolated to scattered light to moderated rain or snow has been forecast for Uttarakhand.


Significantly, isolated rain or thundershowers may occur over the plains in Punjab and Haryana during this period. This would provide a round of ‘cost-free' irrigation to the standing crop in these granary States. Isolated to scattered rain or thundershowers is likely over the north eastern States.

On Sunday, north-westerly to westerly winds had gathered speed over the Gangetic plains. A fall in minimum temperatures by 3 to 4 deg Celsius is likely over northwest India from Tuesday as the prevailing western disturbance moves away. But they would rise as the next system kicks in from the next day onwards.

Scattered to fairly widespread rain or thundershowers have been forecast over parts of the north eastern States as the away-moving western disturbances passes over the region.

Seasonal outlook by international models did not see major deficiency in rain over northwest India during February-March-April though they were less sanguine about the prospect of ideal mercury level sustaining through March.


Meanwhile, an agro-met advisory issued by the IMD dated Feb 25 (Thursday last) advised farmers in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh to arrange for burning farm waste materials around the field to reduce the impact of low temperature and to safeguard crops from cold/frost injury.

It also warned that typical weather conditions prevailing over the rest of the country may trigger pest and disease incidence. This ranged from Downey mildew in cabbage and cauliflower to powdery mildew in peas in Himachal Pradesh.

Specific pest/disease threat for other regions were identified as aphids in mustard and vegetables, thrips and purple blotch in onion and pod borer in gram and pea in Delhi; stem borer in rice, late blight of potato and blight in wheat in West Bengal; aphids in late sown mustard, collar rot and root rot in gram and loose smut in wheat in Jammu and Kashmir; and yellow rust and flag smut in wheat, pod borer in gram and alternaria blight in raya in Punjab.

Powdery mildew in grapes, bacterial leaf blight in pomegranate and leaf miner in groundnut, leaf spot and bud necrosis have been warned of in sunflower in Karnataka. Farmers are advised to undertake plant protection measures, if required, the advisory added.