The 2010 Ladakh flood occurred on 6 August 2010 across a large part of Ladakh, a region of the northernmost Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. 71 towns and villages were damaged, including the main town in the area, Leh. At least 255 people were reported to have died, six of whom were foreign tourists, after a cloudburst and heavy overnight rains triggered flash floods, mudslides, and debris flows. 200 people were reported missing in the initial aftermath of the storm, and thousands more were rendered homeless after the flooding caused extensive damage to property and infrastructure. Overall, 9000 people were directly affected by the event.The flash floods happened after a night of heavy downpour.
The cloudburst itself occurred between 0000–0030 hours IST on 6 August 2010, leading to flash flooding, debris flows, and mudslides over the region. The rainfall distribution was highly spatially variable. The most intense part of the storm was focused in a 6 km wide band parallel to, and a few kilometers from, the river Indus. This band was centred over most of the major settlements in the area, including Leh. Outside the band, the rainfall intensity was unremarkable; the only weather station in the area, at Leh airport, recorded only 12.8 mm of total rainfall for the night of 6 August. However, within it precipitation intensities were over an order of magnitude higher, peaking at at least 150 mm/h over Leh during the most intense part of the storm. Some estimates of the maximum total rainfall in some places were as high as 250 mm. It was like, The implied 75 mm of rain over Leh during the most intense part of the storm is equivalent to around a year’s worth of rain falling in 30 minutes.The rains occurred at night, and surprised everyone.
In Leh, many buildings were destroyed including hospitals, the bus terminal, radio station transmitter, telephone exchange and mobile-phone towers. BSNL communication systems were fully destroyed. Communications were later restored by the Indian Army. The local bus station was severely damaged and some of the buses were carried more than a mile by the mud. The city’s airport was damaged but was rapidly repaired to allow relief flights the following day. The village of Choglamsar on the outskirts of the city was particularly badly hit.In neighbouring valleys, large numbers of smaller villages which lay under the main rainfall band were also heavily damaged, with large numbers of casualties. As in Leh, much of the destruction was caused by debris flows coming from the rocky sidewalls of the valleys, not by the flooding itself.Notable impacts occurred in Sobu, Phyang, Nimmu, Nyeh, and Basgo villages. In total, almost 1500 homes in 71 settlements across the area were reported to have been damaged.All of the estimated 3000 tourists in Leh, including 1000 foreigners were safe according to local officials.Outside the town, 6 tourists were reported killed. However, official documents indicate that at least 255 local residents were killed, with a further 29 never found.The true toll may have been significantly higher, perhaps more than 600 people.