21. The District has 13 stations at which rainfall is registered. Two of these, Amraoti and
Chikalda, are under the Meteorological Department and the remainder under the Director of Land Records. Statistics are as follows, those for Dharni having been taken for the 10 years ending 1906 and the remainder for the 40 years ending 1900:-
Ellichpur Civil Station.
Thus excluding Chikalda the figures for which are typical only of the higher plateaux, the rainfall is fairly evenly distributed over the District. The value of the
rainfall depends moreon its distribution than on its extent, its peculiarity being that an average rainfall in the plains of about 25 inches,
if received in due season with a good break in the rains to allow of the crop maturing, and with showers later, can produce an ordinary good crop; while a rainfall of 34.36 inches (the average of the last 40 years) may be and sometimes is followed by a year of scarcity. This was the case in 1896-97 when the District average was 36.56, while in the preceding year good crops were harvested though only 26.33 inches had been received. In 1880-81 and 1886-87 the registered fall was 24.22 inches; yet in both these years the crop was a fairly good one, that in the old Ellichpur District in the former year being described as excellent. In 1887-88 there was a record downpour of no less than 60.87 inches which was distributed as follows:-0.74 in April and May; 8.85 in June; 20.55 in July; 7.57 in August; 7.23 in September; 9.33 in October; and 6.6o in the succeeding months from November to March. Of the 36 years ending 1906-07 one only showed a rainfall of less than 20 inches, the 13.2 received in 1899-1900 being followed by a severe famine. In eight years the amount registered was between 20 and 30 inches, and in sixteen between 30 and 40; in seven a total of from 40 to 50 inches was recorded, while in four only was the latter figure exceeded.
22. In climate as in almost every other particular, the
Melghat is entirely different from the
rest of the District. In the plains,
though there is no cold weather like that of Northern
India, yet the conditions are for the greater part of the
year very healthy. Even the scorching heat which prevails
in the day time from about the middle of March to
the middle of June is to some extent mitigated by the
extreme dryness of the air and the coolness of the nights,
so that to many constitutions, even European, this is the
healthiest of the seasons. In the Melghat, the sanitarium
of Chikalda, situated on a lofty plateau open to every
wind, is for nine months in the year a delightful health
resort. One can be out of doors there at midday in early
June without serious discomfort, but when once the rains
have set in, the continual mists make the place somewhat depressing. In the valleys of the Melghat again a different climate prevails, which is regarded with unmixed dislike by both Europeans and natives. It is certainly very malarious so that the camping is considered risky before January, and officials long stationed there generally fall sick. In the summer, though the open country is a trifle cooler than the plains, the more secluded valleys are suffocatingly hot. The evil reputation which this tract has acquired, however, is sometimes said to be only partly deserved, much being attributable not to the climate but to the depressing influence of the surroundings which are neither true forest, nor fully cultivated land.
There are two meteorological observatories in the Amraoti District, one at Amraoti in the plains and the other at the hill station of Chikalda. The elevation above sea-level of the barometer at the first is 1215 feet and at the second 3642 feet. The first was founded in 1873 and the second in 1876, and thus a series of more than 30 years' observations are on record. The year may be divided into the cold season, the hot weather, and the rainy season, the first lasting from November to February and the second from March to about the 2nd week in June, when the rains usually set in and continue till about the middle of October. During the cold weather there is but little cloud and only occasional light falls of rain. In October winds, which during the greater part of the year blow from westerly directions, change to north at Chikalda and to east at Amraoti. There is however comparatively little air movement during the winter at either station. Temperature frequently falls below 50° at night but there is seldom any frost. The lowest temperature on record is 40.9° at Chikalda and 40.6° at Amraoti, both occurring in the month of February. In March temperature begins to rise rapidly and the hot weather sets in. The hottest time of the year is May and the early part of June, when the maximum
thermometer at Amraoti frequently records a temperature of 110°, the mean maximum for the whole of May being 107.7; Chikalda temperatures are usually from 13° to 14° below those registered at Amraoti. The highest temperatures on record are 115.5 at Amraoti and 103° at Chikalda. Humidity is very low at this season, averaging only about 26 or 27 per cent, of saturation in April, which is the driest month of the year. As the baric gradients steepen in May owing to the high temperature prevailing in Northern India, winds increase in strength, and from May to September the air movement is at its maximum, the wind velocity at Chikalda during this period averaging 10 miles an hour. The velocity is not so great at Amraoti. The rainfall of the hot weather is small and is chiefly connected with thunder storms which are frequently accompanied by hail and cause large and sudden falls of temperature. The normal date for the setting in of the rainy season in the District of Amraoti is the 10th June, and from this date on to about the 15th October more than 90 per cent, of the whole year's rainfall is received Humidity is of course very high at this season of the year and in August averages 95 per cent. of saturation at Chikalda and 82 per cent, at Amraoti. Temperature is very uniform during the rains at Chikalda and the daily range of temperature averages only 8.3° in July and 7.7° in August; at Amraoti for the same months it is 13.8° and 13.5° respectively. In October winds fall off in strength, rainfall decreases rapidly and after a period of hot steamy weather the cold season gradually sets in. A statement is annexed giving temperature and wind data for five months in 1906, 1907 and 1908. It will be noticed that the wind velocity at Amraoti in May and June in these years was higher thanthat at Chikalda, which is unusual.