PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recorded 174.9mm of rainfall last month, the highest in the last 59 years, which broke the 1965 record of 158.6mm of precipitation.

The meteorological department’s monthly “climate summary” for April 2024 showed that the rainfall KP received last month was excessively above average as the province recorded the “wettest” April ever since 1964.

It said the heaviest one-day rainfall of 91mm was reported in the Dir region on April 14 and in the Malam Jabba area of Swat district on April 20.

“Malam Jabba was the wettest place, with a total of 520mm of monthly rainfall,” it said.

Expert says extreme weather patterns cause for concern

The report said several parts of the province were setting new extreme weather records.

Chitral district, according to the report, also witnessed the “wettest” April since 1964.

The district recorded 283.5mm of rainfall during the month.

The previous record of 208mm of high rainfall during the month was recorded in 1964. Similarly, Dir district also witnessed a record-breaking 461.9mm of rainfall during the month, while the previous record of 353mm was set in April 1995.

The Drosh area of Chitral district also witnessed record-shattering 300.4mm of rainfall during the last month. The area’s previous record of highest rainfall of 278.4mm in the area was set in April 1908. Besides, the Kakul area of the Abbottabad district also recorded 289mm, while the previous record for the highest rainfall of 254.3mm was reported in April 1961.

Also, Chitral and Drosh recorded the lowest daytime temperature on April 15 by recording 3.2 and 3.4 degrees Celsius, respectively.

The report said other significant rainfalls recorded in the province were Dir 461.9mm, Saidu Sharif 382mm, Kalam 379.6mm, Lower Dir 346.9mm, Ghari Duppatta 280.3mm, Mirkhani 270mm, and Peshawar 220.7mm.

It added that the unusual western disturbances were the most dominant features of the month as they entered the country through the western and northern parts and spread over the upper and central parts of the country.

“Three back-to-back westerly waves entered the country from April 2 to April 7, from April 10 to April 15, and from April 18 to 30, which gripped KP, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Balochistan, and parts of Sindh,” it said.

The report also said KP, GB, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab recorded widespread dust and thunderstorms as well as moderate-heavy rain with very few very heavy falls accompanied by hailstorms and snowfall over hills.

“These systems triggered flash floods in Balochistan, and Upper KP associated with riverine floods in the River Kabul,” the report said.

Dr Khan Alam, a professor of atmospheric physics at the University of Peshawar, told Dawn that the unusual rise in sea surface temperature due to the greenhouse effect and other climatic conditions caused high vapor emissions from the Indian Ocean.

He said the data from the last two decades showed a 1.8–2 degree increase in the sea surface temperature in the Indian Ocean.

Dr Alam added that the high vapor-laden winds later entered India and Pakistan, and since those winds couldn’t cross the Himalaya barrier, they caused rains in the subcontinent.

He said that extreme weather patterns were a cause for concern as they led to the loss of lives and damage to infrastructure and livelihood.

“Pakistan alone can’t overcome these issues. The world will have to work together to address such extreme events,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2024

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