Earthquakes    Floods     LandSlides      Snow & Fires      Other Risks


           Cloudburst is a devastating weather phenomenon representing highly concentrated rainfall over a small area lasting a short term. In meteorological terms, the rain from a cloud burst has a fall rate equal to or greater than 100 MM (4.94 inches) per hour and usually last for over an hour. Though the exact mechanism is not yet perfectly understood, research suggests that they are a manifestation of intense vortices on a small scale. These vortices generate strong convective currents which lift the moisture laden air rapidly to form cumulonivous clouds, which shed the water loads with ferocity. In other words, a cloudburst is a freak phenomenon caused by an up rush of air currents holding up a large amount of weather, rising as a plume of air slightly warmer than its surroundings. The sudden cooling and consequent cessation of currents, causing the entire mass of water descend on a small area with catastrophic force due to rapid condensation of clouds. These mostly occur in mountainous regions particularly in interior regions. The north westward moving monsoon systems (low pressure area/cyclonic circulations) after recarving over Rajasthan, North-West Madhya Pradesh and passing over Himachal Pradesh, are found to cause these cloudbursts. It leads to flashfloods, landslides, uprooting of trees, house collapse, dislocation of traffic & bridges, and human casualties on large scale over the area. The topography of the district enhances the devastation caused by cloudbursts, as the water flowing down the steep slopes brings debris, boulders and uprooted trees with great velocity damaging any structure which comes in the way leading to a significant loss of life, property and natural habitat.   Their interaction with eastward moving troughs in upper air westerly, which sometimes penetrate the Indian latitudes during the south-west monsoon seasons are found to greatly enhance the occurrences of cloudbursts over H.P.  A study conducted by Indian Meteorological Department has revealed that a total of 36 cloudbursts took place in Himachal from 1990-2001- About 3 per year with a maximum of seven in year 2000 and none in year 1996. Out of the 36 cloudbursts, 15 were reported in Kullu, 6 in Shimla, 4 in Kinnaur, 3 in Mandi, 2 each in Kangra and Chamba and 1 each in Solan, Sirmour, Lahaul & Spiti and Hamirpur districts. This indicates that Kullu, Shimla, Kinnaur and Mandi districts are more prone to cloudbursts than any other area.  Kalpa and Nichar Sub-divisions of Kinnaur district are very vulnerable to weather extremes. There are no satisfactory techniques for anticipating the occurrence of a cloudburst because of their small scale.

    Wind Storms

       Wind Storm can be defined as ‘A storm with high winds or violent gusts but little or no rain’. The District Kinnaur is vulnerable to cyclonic wind storms particularly during the winters. The winds touch the maximum speed of 40 Knots with average speed being 24 Knots causing wide spread damage to life and property, houses, blows of roofs, power-transmission lines , communication lines, uprooting trees and poles.  Sub-Division Pooh is highly prone to this Hazard in District Kinnaur.

   Road Accidents

         District Kinnaur has good network of roads which include part of NH-22 (now NH-5) from Wangtu to Sumdo, old Hindustan Tibet Road from Tapri to Kanam and other link roads connecting the various villages of the district.  The roads in the district include motorable roads, and jeepable roads, both metalled and unmetalled. The National Highway-22 meanders along the Satluj river towards Spiti across very rugged and steep terrains.  At many places, the road has been constructed by cutting the hard rocks into half tunnels such as ‘Tranda Gorge’, Shri Mati Dhaank, Kanam, Tilasangdhar, Maling Naala etc. Not too long ago, a section of the National Highway-22 was featured in the History Channel’s Deadliest Roads series for its hazardous driving conditions. The old Hindustan Tibet Road is again very dangerous at many places like Roghi, Urni, Pangi, Thopan etc. Similarly, the link road to the various villages again equally dangerous such as roads to Chhota Khamba, Kandaar, Katgaon, Sangla, Sapni, Brua, Shong, Roghi, Pangi, Purbani, Jangi, Lippa, Asrang, Nesang, Hango etc. The roads are zigzag with blind curves, devoid of proper parapets at most of its length, unmetalled with pot-holes and no passing points at many places which makes the movement of traffic very hazardous. If any vehicle meets with an accident, it falls down into the Satluj river or deep gorge straight with no chance of survival.   The poor road conditions and increasing number of vehicles in the district and negligent, untrained and rash driving has led to increasing number of road accidents in the District Kinnaur.