Climatic, meteorological and topographical causes of the 16–17 June 2013 Kedarnath (India) natural disaster event

The devastating flood episode (16–17 June 2013) at Kedarnath (Uttrakhand, India), caused a huge loss of lives and loss of physical/material wealth. To understand this catastrophic event, rainfall/convective data and associated climate meteorological parameters are investigated. A low-pressure zone with very high cloud cover (60–90 %) and relative humidity (70–100 %), associated with low (< 4 m s−1) wind velocity, are observed over the Kedarnath region during 15–17 June. The cause of this disaster seems to be heavy and continuous rainfall, associated with snowmelt and the overflooding/collapse of Chorabari Lake, located upstream. Monsoon advancement was much faster than usual, due to the presence of the convectively active phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation.

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