It may be only March, but heatwave like conditions are already prevailing in several states with vast swathes of northern and western India reeling under temperatures hovering over 40 degree Celsius. In fact, weather forecasters are predicting a “mild heat wave” in Maharashtra and Gujarat.
Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra and even the hill state of Himachal Pradesh saw maximum temperatures hovering around five degree Celsius above normal, while Odisha, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are witnessing daily temperatures of more than 40 degree Celsius. In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, temperatures are forecast to touch 47 degree Celsius in the next few weeks.
In the capital city of Delhi the maximum temperature was recorded at 38.2 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, which was six notches above normal, while the minimum temperature was recorded at 23.1 degrees, five notches above the season’s average. The humidity in Delhi is already at 58 percent.
Experts are expressing concern over the rising temperatures within the first few weeks of summer and private weather forecaster Skymet has predicted that many regions of the country would receive below normal rainfall this monsoon season.
“A large high-pressure area over central and north west region is producing the extreme heat conditions. This is not conducive to cloud formation and it exposes the earth’s surface to unrelenting solar radiation,” said DS Pai, a scientist at the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The IMD predicts rains next week from western disturbances, which may bring some relief to Delhi and neighbouring areas, where temperatures have touched almost 40 degree Celsius. However, in most other places there will be no respite as per officials.
A Quick Overview of the Sizzling Heat Across India
- Akola in Maharashtra, recorded 44.1 degree Celsius.
- Barmer in Rajasthan recorded a high with 43.4 degrees Celsius.
- Narnaul in Haryana sizzled at 42 degrees Celsius.
- Ludhiana in Punjab recorded seven degrees above normal, with 36.7 degrees.
- In Uttar Pradesh, heatwave like conditions prevailed with the mercury crossing 40 degree Celsius in Varanasi, Allahabad, Hamirpur and Agra.
- Wardha, Nagpur and Chandrapur recorded 43 degree Celsius.
- Fourteen places in Odisha recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.
- Heatwave like conditions continued in Gujarat and Saurashtra-Kutch regions.
- They also prevailed in almost 80 per cent of Madhya Pradesh today, as the highest temperature of 42.9 degree Celsius was recorded in Hoshangabad district.
- Temperature in hill stations such as Srinagar and Dehradun was recorded much above normal for this part of the year.
India witnessed the hottest summer in a century in 2016, which resulted in 550 deaths. The severe summer last year saw the food as well as water supply depleting in many parts of the country, creating drought like conditions. And back-to-back severe summers will make the condition worse. Another drought like situation will affect the rural demand affecting the agricultural production and, in fact, may even pose a challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to double farm income by 2022.
Government agencies as well as the people of India need to take necessary action for prevention, preparedness and community outreach to save the lives of the general public, livestock and wild life. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
- Keep abreast of the local weather forecast.
- Keep yourself sufficiently hydrated.
- Cotton clothes are the best during heatwave.
- Protect yourself with goggles and umbrella, or hat when out in the sun.
- Keep drinking water handy.
- Recognise the signs of heatstroke and seek medical help in case you have any symptoms.
- Community outreach is a must. Labourers should not be allowed to work in the peak heat of the sun, especially between 12 pm to 3 pm. Animals and birds should be given shelter and water.
The rising temperatures are indeed a wake-up call for the world. It is not a natural calamity, but a man-made one, because of all the deforestation as well as the pollution caused by industries and vehicles.
The rising average global temperature is expected to make extreme heatwave conditions a common occurrence worldwide. Coupled with the El-Nino effect, weather patterns are changing and temperatures are soaring in Asia. Humidity further compounds the effect of the high temperatures.
If we do not take swift actions towards restoring earth to a semblance of its original self, it will be too late to protect it from the destruction created and caused by modern society.