Cloudbursts: Causes, Spread and Prediction | UPSC

Cloudburst is a sudden, very heavy rainfall, usually local in nature and of brief duration. According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), it is a cloudburst when the amount of rainfall in a particular region exceeds 10 cm per hour.

Most cloudbursts occur in connection with thunderstorms. When warm monsoon winds interact with cold winds it leads for formation of huge clouds, which is also due to the topography or orographic factors.

Cloudbursts are especially common in mountainous areas (in both Himalayas and Western Ghats).

This is probably because the warm air currents of a thunderstorm tend to follow the upward slope of a mountain. Mountain cloudbursts cause sudden and destructive floods.

Cloud bursts do occur at plains, however, mountainous regions are more prone to cloud bursts due to orography.