Wednesday Jul 28 2021

Explainer: What is a cloudburst?

Light and intermittent rains come as a blessing for people, but when an area receives heavy rains in the absence of a proper drainage system, it wreaks havoc and causes damage to infrastructure and takes lives with it due to the ensuing floods. A sudden, heavy downpour of this nature is called a cloudburst.

When Geo News approached Director Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Sardar Sarfaraz and inquired whether cloudburst occurs due to a mixture of cold and hot winds, he said: "It depends in which areas is it raining. The topography of Islamabad and Northern areas is such that hot and cold winds meet there."

The PMD director said we can see regular lightning occurring in these areas as winds are moving up and down simultaneously.

However, Islamabad has received 103mm rain in one-and-a-half-hour, so we cannot term it a cloudburst, Sarfaraz said.

"Cloudburst had occurred in Islamabad back in July 2001 when the capital had received 600-650mm rain within in a span of 8-10 hours. Now, when such a phenomenon occurs, we can term it as a cloudburst."