Sudden rain accompanied by cold winds and hailstorm lashed Dimapur on Saturday afternoon, causing a major dip in the mercury level which brought chilly conditions in the commercial hub.

State capital Kohima, already gripped by a cold wave, also reported heavy rainfall and thunder storm in the evening plunging the temperature to the minimum degree Celsius.

This is the first showers of the year and despite the biting cold, many took it as blessing. Residents in a number of colonies were seen collecting rain water.

It is not just Nagaland but the entire North East region that is seeing minimum temperatures plunging to new levels and settling in single digits for the last few days, even reporting some record low temperatures.

On December 28, 2015 Kohima in Nagaland recorded night temperature at 1°C, which is the lowest minimum after 2009 when the State capital recorded sub-zero temperature.

Saturday’s unexpected rain and hailstorm has prompted concerns whether it was an impact of climate change or it was just a one-off phenomenon. The Indian Institute of Science only recently cautioned Nagaland that it is vulnerable to climate change-accentuated by the dwindling forest area.

Hail storm or rain in January does not necessarily have to be attributed to climate change, according to Lochumi, SDO and in-charge of Meteorological department when contacted. Such weather condition can also be caused by sea depression, she maintained.

IMG-20160109-WA0005The SDO, however, voiced concern that Nagaland was certainly witnessing climate change, indicated by erratic weather behavior.

“It is not necessarily about the weather being colder or becoming hotter. Climate change basically brings about unstable weather conditions,” Lochumi pointed out.

According to her, change in weather pattern is being experienced in Nagaland with December becoming colder during winter while temperature shoots up in January. “Going by our statistical distribution of weather pattern, January should be colder than December,” she said.

Fluctuating weather conditions is an indicator of the impact of global warming and climate change.

In 2014, December, Lochumi revealed that the minimum temperature hovered around 5-6° Celsius in Dimapur. It suddenly shot up to a minimum of 8-10° Celsius in January 2015. “This is an indication of climate change,” she pointed out.

The North East region usually witnesses minimum temperatures in double digits, ranging between 10° Celsius and 20° Celsius during December.

However, under the influence of climate change, this pattern has seen shifts with December reeling with minimum temperature while January month which is expected to be colder have become warmer.

According to reports, since December 28, 2015 Kohima has been reeling with a minimum night temperature below 1° Celsius, which is the lowest minimum on record.

Nagaland has been witnessing frequent unusual weather pattern for some years. Increasing these would be the indications of climate change and would drastically impact the environment. In recent memory, the State witnessed unseasonal rain in December of 2010 and January, 2012.