By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, September 16, 2021: Rains in Odisha for the past three days have broken most records with excess rainfall in 11 districts rasing the oft talked about climate change.

Odisha has received 448% more rain than normal in September. Odisha usually receives an average rainfall of 7.8 mm between September 13 and 14. However, it received 155 mm rainfall during September 13 and 14 which is 869% excess rainfall.

The heavy rainfall has led to floods in the cities of Bhubaneswar, Puri, and Cuttack. Talcher recorded the highest 394 mm rainfall on September 13 followed by Birmharajpur which recorded 372 mm rainfall and Tikarpada which recorded over 300 mm rainfall.

The government of Odisha has evacuated over 13,000 people from areas swirling with floodwater in 20 districts. Due to rain triggered by the great depression in the Bay of Bengal, four people lost their lives. The rains affected about 2 million people in 20 of the 30 districts.

By Tuesday evening, the water had crossed danger levels in the Baitarani river and Mathani in the Jalaka river.The authorities have opened 12 gates of the Hirakud dam in the Sambalpur district to release the floodwater.

According to experts, the shifts in weather patterns due to climate change can adversely affect the state’s agriculture. Senior scientist at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Bhubaneswar, Umashankar Das, said while 12-13 low-pressure formations occur in the Bay of Bengal during monsoon, bringing rains to the coastal state, this year only seven such formations have happened so far.

Weather scientists say such intense rainfalls over a short period are a matter of worry.

“As rice is highly susceptible to water stress during the reproductive stage, leading to significant reduction in grain, the delayed rain is a matter of worry. As over 47% of the paddy sown in Odisha is on upland, the September rains may not help much. The yield-loss magnitude would however depend on the stage of crop growth and duration of rains. Farmers who would start cultivation of paddy now, their yield would depend upon adequate rainfall during October,” said Das.

Das said in 2020, Odisha had seen 11 low-pressure systems in Bay of Bengal while in 2019 there were 8. In 2018, there were 9 low pressures. But during the last 3 years, the low pressures on sea were evenly spread out in July and August helping the transplantation activities.

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