A case study of exceptionally heavy rainfall event over Uttarakhand, India on 18th October, 2021 and its forecasting


  • Rohit Thapliyal India Meteorological Department
  • Bikram Singh India Meteorological Department




Exceptionally heavy rainfall, Mid-level westerly trough, Atmospheric river, Himalayan rainfall forecasting, NWP model


The unprecedented rainfall observed over Uttarakhand on 18th October 2021 caused landslides, debris flow and floods over the Kumaun region and adjoining districts of the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, which resulted in huge damage to life, agriculture, transport, tourism and other sectors. The synoptic and dynamic study of the current event showed the movement of the Low-Pressure Area over central India resulting in the strong southeasterly winds (Atmospheric River) over Indo-Gangetic planes from the Bay of Bengal from 17th to 19th October. The interaction and blocking of the Atmospheric River by the deep trough of eastward-moving Western Disturbance (WD) caused extreme rainfall over Uttarakhand. However, the X-band Doppler Weather Radar and 123 Automatic Weather/raingauge Stations data suggest that the hourly rainfall rate was of light to moderate intensity (10-20 mm/h) over most of the area and at most of the time. The rainfall rate was extremely intense (50-100 m/hour) for around 1-hour duration in 7 stations of Udham Singh Nagar, Champawat, Nainital and Pauri districts. Unlike the June 2013 extremely heavy rainfall event over Uttarakhand which impacted the whole Uttarakhand state, the present event was concentrated over the Kumaun region and the highest ever 24-hours accumulated rainfall was observed on 18th October, 2021 in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand. The expected rainfall as well as the impact of the event over Uttarakhand was forecasted 5 days in advance with good accuracy based on the synoptic analysis and NWP model guidance. The predictability of the IMD-GFS (T-1534) NWP model was found to be up to 10 days for this extreme rainfall event.




How to Cite

R. Thapliyal and B. Singh, “A case study of exceptionally heavy rainfall event over Uttarakhand, India on 18th October, 2021 and its forecasting”, MAUSAM, vol. 74, no. 3, pp. 717–740, Jan. 2024.



Research Papers