Weather tracker: monsoon rains sweep across India and Pakistan | flooding

The monsoon season in India and Pakistan is in full swing and more heavy rain events are expected in parts of south-west India over the next week. In particular, the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala could record rainfall totals of over 200 mm in the next few days.

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

The term “monsoon” does not refer to the rain but to the winds that develop and intensify it. The nature by which these winds cause monsoon rains is not well understood. A popular theory holds that the land warms much faster than the surrounding ocean during the scorching summer heat, with this temperature gradient driving a flow of air from the southwest. This converges with southeasterly winds from the South China Sea as well as mountains in the Indian subcontinent to allow these heavy rains to develop. The development or failure of monsoon rains is critical to the Indian economy.

Meanwhile in Europe, another heatwave is expected in parts of France, Germany and the Benelux region this week. After record-breaking heat in July, temperatures are expected to hit the high 30s Celsius on Wednesday and Thursday, perhaps as high as 40ºC locally. This is around 10ºC above average for these areas.

Finally, there are signs of more heavy rains in New South Wales, Australia, just a month after severe flooding and record-breaking rains swept the Sydney area. While Sydney could avoid its worst rains this week, another 100mm is possible to the west. Four weeks ago, much of the area was under water, and this year more than 20 people have been killed by flooding.

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