While 156 out of 176 taluks were declared drought-hit, 45 taluks were affected by floods.

Karnataka faced worst of natural disasters in 2018 State Disaster Monitoring CentreImage for representation
news Climate Monday, December 31, 2018 - 17:26

The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) has concluded that 2018 was the worst year for Karnataka in terms of natural disasters compared to previous years. For starters, the state government declared drought and floods in the same calendar year, after three continuous drought years.

On December 26, the state government declared that 90% (156 out of 176) of the state’s taluks were drought-hit in the Rabi season after an equally bad Kharif season. Meanwhile, 45 taluks in the coastal and Malnad region were affected by floods.

“There have been years in the past when we have had declared droughts and floods in the same calendar year but the extent of the damage was not this much. It is even more rare, as drought had to be declared for both the Kharif and Rabi season this year. Even in 2015 and 2016, there have been droughts in both the seasons but no floods. Again, there was one major flood in 2009 but that year there was no drought,” GS Srinivasa Reddy, Managing Director of Karnataka State Disaster Monitoring Centre, told TNM.

Adding to this, KSNDMC Meteorologist Sunil M Gavaskar, said, “This year, we have seen all types of disaster that we can experience in the state. Other than floods and droughts, we have also seen landslides.”

Experts at the KSNDMC point to global warming and climate change for this rise in extreme events like flood and drought.

Temperature

Temperatures this year though have not been extreme due to the cloudy conditions, both in May and December, which are the coldest and hottest months of the year respectively.

“2015 in the recent past has been an extreme temperature not only for Karnataka but globally. This time we had expected more temperatures during May, but most of the time, it was cloudy. Generally, temperatures rise above normal in May but those instances have been few this year. Instead, in May, temperatures had gone below normal. Usually, the hottest temperatures will breach the 40 degree Celsius mark easily but this has been a rare occasion in May,” Reddy said.  

“The same has been true for December. Until the last couple of days, we did not experience much chill in the air as there was too much cloud,” he added.

Rainfall

Officials also pointed out that in general, it might look like a normal year for rainfall with only 5% deficit, but the distribution is highly erratic. Distribution in both temporal and spatial basis has been very inconsistent.

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