Monday, April 25, 2016

Hot weather to continue this week

Hot weather to continue this week
Akshay Deoras 

No respite from the ongoing high temperatures

Blistering weather conditions continue to bake eastern, central and southern parts of India. Heatwaves and severe heatwaves have been reported in the states of Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in the past week. The strong heating has also spread in parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Maximum temperatures in a large area (see below image) were around 40°C between 17th and 23rd April 2016 (see below image). In addition to this, many areas witnessed maximum temperatures in the 40-45°C range but some parts of Telangana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Jharkhand witnessed above 45°C maximum temperatures. (Note that the map is a representative map and doesn't depict actual political boundaries). 

Though such a hot weather was anticipated , the maximum temperatures recorded at Titagarh (a town in Odisha) have surprised everyone. The normal maximum temperature in this region in the month of April is 42°C and in the last decade, highest maximum temperature of 45.5°C was recorded. But, these records have been heavily smashed by the recently recorded temperatures. On 22nd April, this town recorded maximum temperature of 47.5°C which on 23rd touched 48°C and on 24th touched 48.5°C (6°C above normal). This has broken the previous record (of highest maximum temperature in April) of 48.1°C which was set on 30th April 1999. In addition to this, previous similar temperature records have been broken at Ramagundam (Telangana) and Anantapur (Andhra Pradesh). These regions recorded maximum temperatures of 46.1°C and 44°C respectively on 21st April 2016. 

IMAGE 1: Representative map showing maximum temperatures between 17th and 23rd April 2016. 
Courtesy: CPC, NOAA

Below temperatures will give an idea of the degree of ongoing hot weather in India. 

Maximum temperatures recorded on 22nd April 

Ramagundam, Telangana: 46.1°C
Bramhapuri, Maharashtra:  46.0°C
Sundargarh, Odisha: 46.0°C
Angul, Odisha: 45.5°C
Bankura, West Bengal: 45.3°C
Nizamabad, Telangana: 45.1°C
Chandrapur, Maharashtra: 45.0 °C

Maximum temperatures recorded on 23 April 

Bankura: 46.7°C
Jamshedpur: 45.8°C
Baripada, Odisha: 45.3°C
Angul: 45.1°C
Midnapore: 45.0°C
Khammam, Telangana: 45.0°C
Nalgonda, Telangana: 45.0°C
Sambalpur: 45.0°C

Maximum temperatures recorded on 24th April 

Tirupathi: 45.7°C
Nalgonda: 45.2°C
Khammam: 45.0°C
Ramagundam: 45.0°C
Nellore: 44.6°C
Bokaro: 44.1°C
Bankura: 43.8°C
Giridhi, Jharkhand: 43°C (8C above normal)
Bhubanewshwar: 41.8°C (5C above normal)
Kolkata: 40.2°C

As per the news reports, more than 150 people have died in India (this year) due to the heat conditions. 50 persons in Telangana and more than 85 in Odisha reportedly have been killed due to the heat (official figures will be lesser than this). Deaths have also been reported from other states such as Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra. A week ago, the death toll was around 130 (all India figure) and around 30 in Odisha. Thus, there seems to have been a tremendous increase in the number of deaths in Odisha. The authorities have advised the citizens of states like Odisha to stay indoors between 11am and 3PM to avoid heat related illness. Despite of this, the reports of heat related deaths are coming which mean either this advisory isn't being followed properly or there are more factors (such as lack of ventilated houses, protection for poor people on daily wages etc.) causing the heat related deaths. 

Hot weather to continue

Unfortunately, the dominance of hot and dry near surface north-westerly winds will continue in this week also. This means that there won't be any significant change in the maximum temperatures of Central and Eastern parts of India. As a result, heat wave and some severe heatwave conditions will likely continue in this week also. Plains of North India will be soon joining the list of high temperature regions. A gradual rise in the maximum temperatures is anticipated in these areas by the end of this week. 

Thus, in this week, maximum temperatures (on an average) at many places of West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Vidarbha (Maharashtra), Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, East Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will remain between 41°C and 46°C. By Saturday, 30th April 2016, following maximum temperatures can be expected: 

Kolkata: 41°C
However, southerly winds will dominate in this week in Southern and Central parts of West Bengal. As a result, the relative humidity will increase and the weather will become sultry. Heat index (the temperature that our body feels due to effect of relative humidity) between 45C and 50C can be anticipated in the city in this week. This will add to discomfort. 

Bankura, West Bengal: 45°C 
Gaya, Bihar: 44°C 
Patna: 43°C 
Ranchi: 41°C 
Daltonganj, Jharkhand: 44°C 
Chandrapur and Wardha: 45C
Nagpur: 44C
Lucknow: 43°C
Allahabad and Varanasi: 44°C 
Hyderabad: 43°C 
Bhubaneswar: 42°C 
Balasore: 40°C 
Raipur: 43°C
New Delhi: 42°C
Chandigarh: 37°C
Ludhiana and Amritsar: 38°C

If the weather models are to be believed, then scattered post-noon thundershowers can be expected in parts of Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh after mid-week (i.e 27th April). But this rainfall won't be that sufficient to give any significant and long lasting relief from the heat. That's why people living in the aforementioned states must follow precautions  to protect themselves from the heatwave. 


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