Norwesters: The SpiceJet ‘accident

What is the News?

Spicejet aircraft experienced severe turbulence at around 16,000 feet while on approach to the destination airport.

Why did this turbulence on the aircraft occur?

The turbulence in the aircraft might have occurred due to the following possible reasons: 

Firstly, it appears that the flight crew had not followed the speed for turbulence penetration. This was probably why severe conditions were encountered.

Secondly, the experts have drawn attention to a weather phenomenon called the Norwester as the aircraft was over Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand with its descent into West Bengal.

What is Norwesters?

Nor’westers or Kalbaishakhi (in Bengali) or Bordoisila (in Assam) are localized rainfall and thunderstorm events which occur in Bangladesh and the Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.

These storms generally occur in the afternoon or just before sunset when thick dark black clouds start appearing over the sky and then bring gale-speed wind with torrential rain, often with hail, but spanning only a short period of time.

They occur mostly in the month of March with their frequency increasing in May and early June.

Effects: Kalbaishakhi brings destruction by uprooting trees due to winds and heavy rainfall. However, it is extremely helpful for Kharif crops like jute and paddy and gives relief after the midday heat and gives rainfall to the dry soils for the development of the crops.

Significance: Many Bengali poets and artists have been inspired by Kalbaishakhi not just by its fury but by its astounding beauty. Bengali poet Mohit Lal Majumder described the storm in his poem “Kalbaisakhi” and Rabindranath Tagore also got inspired by the storm and wrote the poem “Esho e Baisakh”.

Source: The post is based on the article “The SpiceJet ‘accident” published in The Hindu on 6th May 2022. 

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