Skymet weather

What is a Cloudburst?

March 5, 2015 10:41 AM |

cloud bursting Comes monsoon in India and we keep hearing about clouds bursting every now and then, especially in the hills of North India. But, what caused the clouds to burst and release all the water at once? How are such clouds formed? Skymet brings you a detailed explanation for the complete cycle of events that leads to cloudburst.


A cloudburst is a sudden aggressive downpour within the radius of a couple of kilometres. Though, cloudbursts usually do not last for more than few minutes, they are capable of flooding the entire area. Rainfall from a cloudburst is usually equal to or greater than 100 mm per hour. Cloudbursts are generally associated with thunderstorms.

However, the above definition has been given by a particular school of thought. In reality, there is no specific amount of rain associated with a cloudburst, either in time or duration.

How does a cloudburst happen?

Whenever vertically formed clouds fully develop, moving very slow, most of the water content available in the clouds come down as a downpour at a particular area. Cloudbursts generally descend from very high clouds, sometimes with tops above 15 kilometers. The windward side of mountains are generally conducive for generating thunderclouds with huge updrafts.

Effect of cloudbursts on hills and plains

The catastrophic nature of cloudbursts differ on the virtue of terrain. In the hills, large volume of water keeps getting momentum as it flows in gushes. On its way, it demolishes everything and gravity of the situation increases due to landslides, mudslides, etc.

On the other hand, cloudbursts in the plains only leads to waterlogging and inundation.



For accurate weather forecast and updates, download Skymet Weather (Android App | iOS App) App.

Other Latest Stories

latest news

Skymet weather

Download the Skymet App

Our app is available for download so give it a try