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Watching rain drops in EKH village

By Jane E Warjri
Nohron is a hamlet in East Khasi Hills and located about 64 km from Shillong. It is a small village inhabited by the indigenous people, the Khasis who speak a dialect unique to this place.
The villagers mostly depend on the cultivation of broom and betel leaf for their livelihood, which are practised on the steep slopes in the riverine portion of the village adjoining the Umngot valleys. The landforms in the surrounding areas of Nohron give rise to a picturesque landscape such as the undulating and rugged topography.
Numerous striking waterfalls can be seen in and around Nohron, especially during the monsoon. Some of the picturesque falls have names like Tdem, Phir Phir and Pashiang which are as rhythmic as the cascading waters.
To the north east of Nohron, there is a perennial stream known as Wahbarim which flows to Umsot, a tributary of the Umngot. The morphology of potholes at Wahbarim, locally known as Thlong Blei, attests to the intense abrasion, especially during the monsoon when the flow velocity is high. Ample rainfall during the monsoon season supports dense forest as noticed on the northeastern slopes of Nohron, locally known as Lawryngkew, comprising rich plants diversity and protected by the village community.
Moreover, it has also been observed that Lawryngkew is largely surrounded by grassland areas.
Geographically, Nohron is situated on a flat mound uplifted prominently to its present height of about 1,318 m above the sea level. It falls in the Umngot catchment and located on the windward side experiencing the full onslaught of the monsoon.The topography of the areas adjoining Nohron is one factor that is attributed to heavy rainfall.
Moreover, strong winds and fogginess are frequent phenomena that occur, especially during monsoon.
In October 2012, the author installed an automatic rain gauge in the village that has been monitored till date for rainfall measurements. Based on the recent recorded rainfall data of 2013-2017, it is evident that Nohron falls in the zone that receives heavy rainfall. The annual rainfall recorded ranges between 7,000mm to 8,700mm.
According to the data of 2013-2017, during the monsoon season, the heaviest rainfall intensity recorded in 24 hours was about 687mm on June 9, 2015.
As per the report published in a local daily on August 21, 2015, Mawsynram and Sohra received the maximum rainfall intensity in one day of about 745.2mm and 471.1mm, respectively, on August 19, 2015. Moreover, in the pre-monsoon period, Nohron recorded the heaviest rainfall intensity of about 383.27mm in 24 hours on May 17, 2016.
Evidently, in February 2017, Nohron received intense rainfall of about 277.62mm, which is unusual during winter. Besides, the extreme events mentioned, according to the information given by villagers, the current condition of rainfall at Nohron has significantly decreased as compared to the earlier years.
(The author undertook the reasearch at Nohron during her PhD in sediment load in the Upper Umiew River channel in east Khasi Hills. Further resaerch on the rainfall pattern at Nohron is needed, says the author)

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