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Intense heat sweeps east, south; more heat wave days likely in May

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
May 03, 2024 01:11 IST
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Intense heat swept through east India and parts of the southern peninsular region on Thursday, testing power grids and prompting the Kerala government to order closure of educational institutions till May 6.

IMAGE: In the wake of prevailing heat wave conditions in Jharkhand, an official notification has been issued announcing the suspension of classes up to grade 8 in both government and private schools across the state, May 3, 2024. (AN. Photograph: ANI Photo>

The India meteorological department said heat wave to severe heat wave conditions scorched parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and coastal Andhra Pradesh.

At least 17 places in these states recorded temperatures above the 44-degree Celsius mark.


The mercury settled at 46.2 degrees Celsius at Nandyal in Andhra Pradesh, 45.3 degrees at Palwancha in Telangana, 44.3 degrees at Karur Paramathi in Tamil Nadu, 45 degrees at Bolangir in Odisha, and 44.3 degrees at Kalaikunda in West Bengal.

As Kerala continued to reel under punishing heat, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed the closure of educational institutions in the state until May 6.

The IMD said the ongoing heat wave spell in east and south peninsular India will continue till May 3 and abate thereafter.

The Met office on Wednesday said above-normal maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of the country in May and a significantly high number of heat wave days expected over the northern plains, central region, and adjoining areas of peninsular India.

April saw record-smashing maximum temperatures in east, northeast, and southern peninsular India prompting health warnings from government agencies and some states to suspend in-person classes in schools. A number of stations recorded their highest ever April day temperature.

Five active Western Disturbances led to rain, thunderstorm, and hail storms over north and central India at regular intervals in April, preventing heat waves.

IMD data shows that heat waves in April this year were far worse than in 2023, the warmest year on record so far.

This trend is likely to continue in May, with around eight to 11 heat wave days predicted over south Rajasthan, west Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Marathwada, and Gujarat regions.

The remaining parts of Rajasthan, east Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and some parts of Chhattisgarh, interior Odisha, Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, north interior Karnataka, and Telangana may record five to seven heat wave days in the month.

Normally, the northern plains, central India, and adjoining areas of peninsular India experience around three days of heat waves in May. India saw two spells of heat waves in April from April 5 to 7 and April 15 to 30.

The IMD attributes the prolonged heat wave spell over east, northeast, and south peninsular India in April to the absence of thunderstorms and an anticyclone at lower levels over the west central Bay of Bengal and the adjoining eastern coasts of India. This caused the sea breeze to cut off over Odisha and West Bengal on most days.

The weather office said south peninsular India recorded an average maximum temperature of 31 degrees Celsius in April, which was the second-highest since 1901. The mean temperature (28.12 degrees Celsius) in April in east and northeast India was the highest since 1901, it said.

The IMD said above normal maximum temperatures have become frequent over south peninsular India since 1980s. The region recorded 12.6 mm of rainfall in April, which was the fifth lowest since 1901 and the second lowest since 2001.

According to IMD data, the number of heat wave days this April was the highest in 15 years in Gangetic West Bengal and nine years in Odisha.

Odisha also experienced the longest heatwave spell (16 days) in April since 2016.

Amid the prevailing but weakening El Nino conditions, the IMD had earlier warned of extreme heat during the April-June period, coinciding with the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections.

Hundreds of thousands of voters had to cope with the searing heat when they stepped out to exercise their franchise in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 26.

Polling for 94 constituencies across 12 states will take place on May 7.

The weather office had earlier expected four to eight heat wave days in different parts of the country in April against a normal of one to three days. Ten to 20 heat wave days are expected against a normal of four to eight in the entire April-June period.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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