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Weather tracker: monsoon rains sweep India and Pakistan

The monsoon season in India and Pakistan is well under way, with further heavy rain events expected in parts of south-west India over the next week or so. The states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala in particular could experience rainfall totals above 200mm widely over the next couple of days.

Towards the weekend, this risk could transfer further north and east across India, with 200mm potentially affecting central states. This follows a week when dozens were killed by lightning strikes in India, while hundreds died in severe flooding in neighbouring Pakistan.

The term “monsoon” does not refer to the rain but rather the winds that develop and enhance it. The nature by which these winds cause monsoon rains is not well understood. One popular theory suggests that during the searing summer heat, the land warms far quicker than the surrounding ocean, with this temperature gradient driving in an air flow from the south-west. This converges with south-easterly winds from the South China Sea, as well as with mountains on the Indian subcontinent, to enable these heavy rains to develop. The development or failure of monsoon rains is critical to the Indian economy.

Meanwhile, in Europe, a further burst of heat is expected across parts of France, Germany and the Benelux region this week. Fresh on the back of the record-breaking heat in July, temperatures look likely to reach the high-30s Celsius on Wednesday and Thursday, perhaps as high as 40C locally. This is about 10C above average for these areas.

Finally, there are signs of further heavy rainfall to come across New South Wales, Australia, just a month after severe floods and record-breaking rainfall swamped the Sydney area. While Sydney may escape the worst of the rainfall this week, a further 100mm is possible to the west. Four weeks ago, swaths of the area was under water, and more than 20 people have been killed by flooding this year.

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