Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blown away

Blown away
The city has been slammed by jet winds. We give you a low down on why the phenomenon occurs and what you can do to save yourself from being blown away
DEEPTHI M R


Trees sway dangerously throwing looming shadows across the walls and look precariously tipped to fall; that metal sheet above the shed shakes menacingly, ready to fly away any minute, and the doors bang deafeningly, uncontrollably. Well, if we have got your imagination running wild about a poltergeist on the loose, we plead innocence.
But then when you are talking about the jet winds, you just cant help not getting dramatic. Yes, to put it rather bluntly, the wild jet winds have hit Bangalore! Because of which, the city has in the past few days been experiencing wind speeds of about 53 kilometres per hour (kmph). And to give you a perspective of how strong the winds are, a wind speed of 53 kmph is good enough to uproot branches of a tree, tilt a fast moving two-wheeler and even bring down loosely held asbestos sheet or car windshields.
DUSTY AND SHARP WINDS
The city’s meteorology department has recorded raising wind speed in the city following the delayed monsoons. Explaining the phenomenon, senior meteorologist B Puttanna said “Winds with speed higher than 40 kmph are called jet winds. They are an indication that we will get rains that we missed in June.” Elaborating the reason behind the gusty winds, he added Wind always travels from low pressure to high pressure areas. The sea or oceanic areas are generally low pressure areas and the winds travel towards land surfaces where the surface pressure is high. But winds travel towards high pressure areas between the altitude range of 16.6 kilometres. Any wind above this level will go the opposite way i.e from a high pressure to a low pressure area.
Coming to the subject in focus, he states, “Currently, areas marked over north-west Bay of Bengal adjoining coastal Orissa are low pressure areas, sending winds in the opposite direction. Verily why, the wind-speeds in the city have increased.” Describing the nature of the winds, he said, “These winds bring in a lot of dust along with them and are sharp in nature.”
Commenting about the effect of jet winds on rainfall, Puttanna had this to say “The wind that travels from southern hemisphere to the north carries a lot of moisture. When it hits the southern tip of India where it faces barriers like ghats and forests, it is forced to go higher, forming rain bearing clouds in the process. The rains first hit the southern states before moving to the north.”
STORM GUARD
Tips to deal with the winds Protect your eyes with goggles while on roads Don’t ride bikes at top speeds While riding a two wheeler, hold on to both the sides of the handle Don’t park your car under coconut trees Don’t stand under buildings with metal sheet roofs

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