Scientists have said that satellite and Google Earth images did not show a glacial lake near the region but there was a likelihood of 'water pockets', which might have burst, leading to massive flooding in parts of Uttarakhand after the Nanda Devi glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.
Though it needs further research and analysis, this event is not expected to be a cloudburst since Chamoli's weather reports showed sunny weather with no reports of rain till Sunday. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that no adverse weather report is expected from Chamoli, Tapovan and Joshimath areas in Uttarakhand on February 8.
"It's a very rare incident for a glacial burst to happen. There's a possibility of a water pocket in the region, which might have erupted. We need further analysis, weather reports and data to confirm if this indeed was the case," IIT Indore's assistant professor of glaciology and hydrology Mohammed Farooq Azam was quoted by Times of India as saying. He added that global warming has led to a rise in temperatures in the region.
According to a recent report by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the temperature is increasing in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region. This, along with global temperature fluctuations, will have further impact in the Himalayan region.
Meanwhile, the operation jointly carried out by State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) to rescue people from a tunnel in Tapovan is underway using a JCB machine, heavy earth moving equipment, and excavators. The biggest challenge in this rescue operation is 30-35 feet heap of mud. Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said that 28 to 30 people are likely to be trapped in the Tapovan tunnel. So far, a total of 15 people have been rescued and 14 bodies have been recovered from different places, said the police.