Manali cloudbursts, landslides kill 11 this month

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MANALI: Three cloudbursts and dozens of landslides along the Kullu-Manali highway up to Rohtang Pass have killed 11 people in this month alone, a high toll considering there have been no such deaths in recent years. Besides, thousands of tourists are still stranded in the valley and nearby areas.

"There have been no casualties due to cloudburst in the last two years," said Manali SDM Balbir Thakur.

Cloudbursts descend from great heights, some times over 15,000m. Meteorologists say rain from a cloudburst is usually of the shower type with a fall rate equal to or greater than 100mm (3.94 in) per hour. More than 2 cm of rain may fall in a few minutes with disastrous results. Cloudbursts are caused by abnormally high precipitation during which large droplets grow rapidly by coagulating with smaller droplets. Heavy rains cut off most of Kullu valley from Himachal and hundreds of tourists are unable to move for days.