Scientists inspect Haryana’s rare tornado site (Lead)

July 24th, 2010 - 9:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Fatehabad (Haryana), July 24 (IANS) Scientists Saturday inspected the site of a rare occurrence of water being lifted several hundred feet in the air from water-logged fields in a village in Haryana’s Fatehabad district in what experts said was a low-intensity tornado.
Director Meteorological Department, Chandigarh, Surender Pal and scientist Vivek Dhawan inspected the site near village Ahlisadar in the district and gathered information from the farmers of the area about the tornado which was witnessed on Thursday (July 22).

The rare sight of water from the fields rising in a streak hundreds of feet up in the air was seen by a few residents of the village, nearly 280 km from Chandigarh, including farmers Desraj and Hansraj and a youth, Parveen Kamboj, who were tending to their fields.

Kamboj had the presence of mind to take pictures of the tornado on his mobile phone Thursday evening.

“I was working in my fields with dark clouds overhead. After a while, I saw a pipe-like thing in the sky lifting water from the fields. The ‘dhar’ (streak) was connecting the clouds with the earth,” Kamboj said, still excited about the phenomenon he saw.

The tornado continued for a few minutes, villagers told the visiting scientists.

“A pipe-shaped figure formed from between the dense clouds on July 22 at 2 p.m. and later pulled the water of the farm towards it. The water then got sprinkled over the nearby farms as a spell of rain. The scene remained visible for at least 12 minutes. It damaged the cotton crop of the area,” Desraj and Hansraj told the scientists.

Experts on climatic conditions say that the streak of water was a tornado, a rare occurrence in India.

“Normally, such tornadoes are commonly found in certain parts of the US. These are rare in India but this is not the first instance. This happens when there is formation of multi-cells in the clouds and there are a lot of winds. The streak comes from the clouds and lifts water,” Surender Pal told IANS.

“The climate is changing very fast and the temperature of the earth is rising. Many a time, flood or drought-like situation are witnessed. All these conditions serve in the building of tornado,” he said.

He said that the tornado July 22 at village Ahlisadar was due to low pressure in the area, and due to speedy winds coming from high pressure area.

“Tornadoes occur due to the collision of large volumes of air, having different temperatures. Collision mostly occurs in places where warm and cold air is present together. Speed of wind increases and it starts rising upwards. The tornado witnessed at village Ahlisadar was of low intensity which saved the area from much damage of life and property,” he added.

Paul said that tornadoes, though rare in north India, have occurred around Ludhiana in Punjab, 110 km from Chandigarh, in 2007, 1997 and 1978. These also happen in the northeastern states sometimes, he added.

“Such a tornado can cause extensive damage to crops and property,” Paul added.

Krishna Mohan, chairperson of Panjab University’s Department of Geography in Chandigarh, told IANS: “This is neither common nor abnormal. Such things happen in nature. There is a basic requirement for such a thing to happen. When the conditions are fulfilled, a tornado occurs.”

The tornado, which hit the village in Fatehabad, this week did not result in any loss of life. But crops were damaged in some fields it crossed.

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