Monsoon low to increase flood threat in India as country lifts more COVID-19 restrictions

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A monsoon low that gradually developed this week helped to speed up the anticipated arrival of rain across parts of India as the wet season gets under way.

Since the second half of May, the leading edge of the monsoon, which brings a wet season to India each summer starting in June, has been gradually advancing across the Bay of Bengal.

In recent days, an area of low pressure developed along this leading edge of moisture as it sits over the bay. This type of low pressure area is typically called a monsoon low.

While a developing low over a body of warm water could lead to tropical development, increased wind shear in the upper levels of the atmosphere common during the monsoon season hindered how much this low was able to organize and strengthen.

The low ran out of time to develop into a tropical system as it approached the eastern coast of India through the end of the week.

Widespread areas of heavy rain and thunderstorms spread across parts of northern Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha as the low moved over the area.

As the low moves over central India into the weekend, rainfall totals can climb to 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) where the heaviest thunderstorms and repeated rounds of downpours develop.

An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 250 mm (10 inches) will be possible in these areas, which can lead to flooding concerns.

In addition to an increased flood risk, the strongest storms will also threaten the area with gusty winds and frequent lightning strikes.

The monsoon season carries life-threatening risks of severe flooding and dangerous lightning, but the increase in wet weather is essential for crops and the country’s water supply.

“The low will also help advance the Southwest monsoon across Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal late this week,” added Nicholls.

The emerging tropical threat is occurring just days after India took another step in lifting its coronavirus lockdown. The Guardian reported that the Indian government has allowed places of worship, restaurants and shopping malls to reopen, despite a recent increase in cases. India has over 270,000 cases of COVID-19, the fifth highest total worldwide.

State-run hospitals in the large cities of Mumbai and New Delhi have reportedly run out of beds and are turning people away, according to The Guardian.

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