Are We Heading for Heatwave This Summer?
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of heat waves, making this summer warmer than normal. The weather agency has predicted that heat waves will mainly affect the central and north-western India and that’s why these regions will have hotter summer season than usual. Parts of south India will also feel the brunt of the sun.
On April 1, 2019, India Meteorological Department declared that almost all sub-divisions from central India and some subdivisions from north-west India will be warmer by 0.5 degree Celsius than the normal.
The weather agency also said that maximum temperature will be above normal by around 0.5-1.0 degree Celsius in:
- Uttar Pradesh (Eastern and Western regions)
- Rajasthan (Eastern)
- Madhya Pradesh (Eastern and Western regions)
- Maharashtra (Central, Vidarbha, and Marathwada regions)
- Karnataka (Coastal and north-interior regions)
- Andhra Pradesh (Rayalaseema region)
Core heat wave zone areas in India are predicted to experience above normal heat wave conditions in 2019 summer. West Rajasthan is going to experience a more severe heat condition. In this region, the mean and minimum temperatures will be above normal by 1 degree Celsius.
Heat Waves Already Struck Many Indian Regions
- Heat wave has already struck Tamil Nadu and multiple regions of Andhra Pradesh (Rayalaseema and coastal areas) in early March.
- Dharmapuri station in Tamil Nadu recorded a maximum temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature in March ever recorded. The earlier highest was recorded in 1996 which was 40 degrees Celsius.
- Rayalaseema is one of the worst affected regions in Andhra Pradesh due to the ongoing heat wave. While Tirupathi and Cuddapah meteorological stations recorded maximum temperatures of 40.4 and 40 degrees Celsius respectively, 5 other meteorological stations recorded over 38 degree Celsius.
- Late March 2019, weather forecasters were surprised when Kerala was struck by an unusual heat wave. Till date 4 people were reported dead and 300 more people suffered sun burns. IMD Kerala director Santhosh K blamed El Nino for the unusual heat wave. He pointed out that instead of the usual rise of one degree Celsius above normal during pre-monsoon summer, this year the temperature went up by 3 to 4 degrees Celsius.
- Heat waves have now spread to other parts of the country too including Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Odisha.
El Nino and its Effect on Weather and Temperature
El Nino is a natural phenomenon that involves unusual rise in temperature of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Due to El Nino, the global wind patterns get disrupted. This leads to change in climate conditions, especially in sub-tropical regions (such as India), tropical regions (such as Africa), and extra-tropical regions (such as North America).
El Nino was developing since August 2018, raising the temperature than normal and stretching the hot summer. However, IMD said that it’ll not affect monsoon because they don’t see formation of full El Nino. Many other private weather agencies/forecasters including South West Monsoon (SWM), Skymet Weather, and Australian Bureau of Meteorology (ABM) disagreed.
IMD acknowledged formation of weak El Nino conditions only in March 29, 2019, which is likely to continue throughout early summer.
Heat wave is expected to continue throughout this summer. People should take preventive care from heat cramp, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. To avoid any adverse health issues you should try to stay in a cool place, wear hats/caps, use umbrella, wear loose garments, drink lots of water, avoid going out from 12noon to 3pm and undertake other preventive care.