Jim Andrews

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India Monsoon Drought to Flood

August 30, 2012; 9:32 AM ET

--The Subcontinent's Fickle Monsoon Flips from Extreme to Extreme

Recent rains in parts of India have brought both serious flooding and welcome drought relief.

Delhi had its wetted 24 hours of the season on Wednesday, when 60 mm of rain fell, leading to morning rush-hour "chaos," the Times of India website said.


Flooded New Delhi streets, following an Aug. 29 cloudburst, are not enough to keep these children from fetching milk for their family (AP Photo/Saurabh Das).

The downpour left Delhi with its second wettest August in 16 years.

As late as the Aug. 19, rainfall for the summer Monsoon season was only 42 percent of normal in Delhi. Since then, waves of heavy rain have cut the seasonal shortfall to less than 8 percent.

Meanwhile, cleanup from serious flooded in eastern Rajasthan state got a boost from dry weather at midweek.

Jaipur, the state capital, and a number of nearby districts saw deadly flooding

Jaipur began the month of August with a serious rainfall dearth of 60 percent, having had only 4.4 inches since the start of June.

Then the floodgates flung open, bringing August rainfall to more than two feet by the 28th. Put another way, Jaipur had roughly its normal yearly rainfall within less than four weeks.

The rain came at a tragic price. A six-inch cloudburst on Aug. 22 inundated much of the Jaipur air, leading to a number of drowning deaths. In all, at least 14 flood-related deaths were reported, according to the Times website.

In what the BBC News called the "heaviest rainfall since 1981," Rajasthan counted at least 36 flood-related deaths.

Yet the rains of August have proven beneficial for much of India. Indeed, as of Aug. 30, seasonal rainfall in most of India was deemed to be "normal", or at least within 20 percent of the average amount, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) website said on Thursday.

In the northwest, rainfall rose from "scanty" (less than 40 percent of normal) to the less critical "deficient," or even "normal."

Even the one remaining area of serious deficit, the drought-stricken west of Gujarat, saw much-needed downpours this week.

However, rains are still awaited in much of neighboring Pakistan, where the normal ending time for summer's rain is nigh.

Season for the rain-giving summer Monsoon officially begins in June 1, according to meteorologists with the IMD.

The summer, or South West, Monsoon season ends with September, and is succeeded in some areas by a rainy fall, North East Monsoon.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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