Nearly a fortnight long observation of Margazhi Garbottam came to an end on 11th January at 1-13 PM. This year the Garbottam period was eventful and totally different from the past 3 years (relevant for monsoon 2016, 2017 & 2018) when spotless blue sky was staring down at us on most days. Except for 2 days corresponding to November 2019, all the other days had some signs to guarantee rains. This Garbottam being the first source of assessing the entire rainfall season, the mostly eventful Garbottam gives me a sigh of relief in the wake of a bad prediction of rainfall for the upcoming year ‘Vikari’. Keeping ‘Vikari’ year prediction for another day let me present here what I gathered from this Garbottam that is applicable to Chennai ONLY.
The first two days saw surging grey clouds from North East – North West, apparently from the sea. From my observation of similar events in the past Garbottams, this is not exactly how solar Garbottam has to happen. A similar kind of Garbottam gave rains in the sideline of a cyclone (Gaja) in the 2nd fortnight of November 2018. Interestingly this cloud surge indicates the dates of some planetary trigger when Mercury overtakes Mars and comes in the lead of all planets in a watery sign (Cancer) and Saturn and Ketu enter into deep conjunction. The dates happening to be July 5th to 9th sound improbable for rains from a system, but it could also result from convergence of winds (Mercury for winds) and ‘Veppa Chalanam’ (Mars behind Mercury). How this happens will be an addition to our knowledge of astro-meteorology.
An important feature I noticed was the role of cold northerlies and fog helping in cloud formation after the sun climbs up the next day. When fog was much less, the next day had clear sky. When cold winds (Vaadai- Kaatru வாடைக் காற்று) were blowing, there was very good cloud build-up the next day causing them cross the sun often. When it was misty the previous night or next morning, the sky was misty white till noon after which it was blue sky only.
On 10th January (Day 13), there must have been some difference in the moisture level of overnight mist – as one could see the misty white sky developing clouds that caused good Garbottam in some places of Chennai, while it was not so in my place of observation. Similar formation was something not at all seen in the last 3 years after Chennai was flooded in 2015. This apparent disparity makes me think that 2019 is going to see far better levels of rainfall.
The most unique day was Day 10, on 7th January between 8 to 10:30 AM. The overnight foggy weather seemed to give rise to a peculiar cloud formation of neatly arranged bundles of clouds much closer to the surface – not like cirrus clouds seen high above. This was noticed at other parts of Chennai and is comparable with similar looking clouds noticed in south of South India from Chennai to Kerala on 27th February 2018. It resulted in the rainfall of the century to Kerala on the 195th day – on 8th August 2018.
Similar cloud formation seen on 27th Feb 2018 for comparison
Compared to Kerala cloud, the duration was much less in Chennai. But the planetary combination was unique like it was when similar formation occurred in Kerala. Mars, Mercury and Venus were in exact square on 27th Feb 2018, when that cloud formation was happening.
In Chennai Mars and Mercury were in exact square at the time of cloud formation. On the corresponding dates (Oct 25th and 26th, 2019), Mars comes out of combustion and Mercury enters combustion both are trigger factors for very good rainfall.
The Feb 27th Garbottam (Kerala) did not happen in Margazhi. So it was counted as ‘Daily Garbottam’ and the impact date was deduced based on the phase and tithi of the moon on the 6th month.
But in Chennai Garbottam this time, it is counted for Margazhi Garbottam and also Daily Garbottam. The above mentioned dates in October are deduced from Margazhi Garbottam. In Daily Garbottam, the corresponding date is 20th May, 2019. This is also an important date to watch for rainfall and the nature of rainfall.
This Margazhi Garbottam observation is relevant for the period starting from June 22nd. However other features are there to ensure early rainfall for Chennai. The same data of Solar Garbottam is relevant as Daily Garbottam observation and it will be written in another blog shortly.
The chart given below gives the observation and the probable dates of rainfall. One drawback of this observation is that night time sky could not be watched. So nearly a week – rather the alternating weeks are not covered in this. However it was found that it was not at all cloudy on any of the nights of Solar Garbottam, but one important feature was early morning fog on most days which was found missing in the previous 3 years of my observation of this Garbottam in Margazhi.