Heat waves, drought: Before the above normal monsoon, India needs to withstand this summer

With heat wave warnings issued and schools being closed due to extremely hot weather, ‘Indian summer’ might just get a new definition after 2016. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) offered a drop of hope on Tuesday, predicting that after two drought years, India will get six percent more-than-normal monsoon rains in 2016 with a probability of 94 percent.

Until that happens, India has to live through an extremely hot summer. Temperatures are soaring in several parts of the country. New Delhi on Wednesday recorded the minimum temperature at 23.2° Celsius, two notches above the season's average, the Met Office said, and predicted the maximum temperature is likely to hover around 35° Celsius.

On Tuesday, the Met office in Hyderabad issued heat wave warning for Telangana over Wednesday and Thursday.

"Heat wave conditions very likely to prevail over some parts in the districts of Hyderabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Rangareddy, Khammam and Nalgonda," said YK Reddy, director in charge, Hyderabad meteorological centre.

The highest maximum temperature of 44° Celsius was recorded at Nalgonda and Ramagundam on Tuesday.

Bhadrachalam and Nizamabad districts recorded 43°C. The mercury was at 42°C in Adilabad, Khammam, Mahabubnagar and Medak.

Hyderabad recorded 41°C along with Hanamkonda.

Heat wave conditions have already claimed 66 lives in Telangana and 45 lives in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh this season.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

It’s not just the southern part of India that is seeing this extreme condition. The eastern part of the country too has been affected.

The sizzling heat wave sweeping Odisha for the last couple of days continued to cripple normal life on Tuesday, as the temperature hovered over 40° Celsius in most places in the state. On Monday, Bhubaneswar broke the city's 30-year-old record when temperature rose to 45.7° Celsius - the highest ever temperature for the month of April, according to The Hindu.

The state government on Tuesday received reports of 24 deaths due to sunstroke, as 19 towns recorded temperatures over 40° Celsius.

While Titlagarh recorded the highest temperature of 44.5°C, Bhubaneswar on Tuesday recorded 42.9°C.

Bhubaneswar Met department director Sarat Chandra Sahu said the heat wave conditions would continue for at least one week more in many parts of the state. The government has closed schools till 20 April in view of the prevailing heat wave in the state.

Poll-bound West Bengal is also reeling under intense heat. Mercury soared to 40° Celsius in state capital Kolkata on Monday and Bankura is one of the districts experiencing a heat wave.

Polling for the second part of the first phase of Assembly polls was held on Monday and many voters stood in queues in extreme heat to exercise their right to franchise. The Indian Express reported that temperature in Bankura rose to 45.1°C, which was eight degrees above average. Asansol recorded 43°C and Burdwan recorded 42.5°C. Despite that, the voter turnout in West Medinipur district was 84.71 percent, in Bankura was 78.87 percent and in Burdwan was 75.12 percent, The Indian Express quoted Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal, Sunil Gupta, as saying.

The BBC reported that many parts of interior India are dry because of the lack of monsoon last year, a result of El Nino. Hot air from these parts are making their way to Bhubaneshwar and Kolkata, coastal cities that would have otherwise benefited from the cool sea breezes off the Bay of Bengal,

Up north, Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a drought. The government said it will take all possible steps to ensure that there is no starvation death, a day after the Centre announced a relief of Rs 1,304 crore for the region.

"It is being ensured that no one dies there due to hunger under any circumstances and all measures are being taken for it...in case of death due to hunger, the district magistrate will be personally held responsible," Relief Commissioner Ashok Kumar had said.

The core Heat Wave zone of Marathwada, Vidarbha and Madhya Maharashtra will see higher temperatures this summer. “There is also a high probability (76 percent) of maximum temperatures in the core HW zone during the 2016 hot weather season to be above normal," the IMD said in a statement earlier this month, according to The Times Of India.

Weather experts concur that the only way India will get respite from this heat is when the monsoon arrives. Till then, the country has no option but to sweat it out.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Apr 13, 2016 13:10:48 IST

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