The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday reported that most parts of north India can expect an intense heat wave this summer, with average mean temperatures remaining more than a degree above normal in the months of April, May and June.
"The upcoming hot weather season (April to June) is expected to have the above normal sub-divisional average seasonal temperatures over most of the meteorological sub-divisions of the country except the subdivisions of eastern, east-central and southern parts for the country that are likely to experience slightly below normal seasonal temperatures," the IMD said in a bulletin, as per IANS.
The mercury has started rocketing, reaching 40 degrees Celsius in parts of India, including in Delhi, in March, which is not considered as the summer season. This had prompted the meteorological department to issue a forecast on 28 February.
However, the average temperatures in most of the subdivisions are likely to be cooler than that of last year. IMD's outlook suggests that warmer than normal temperatures are expected to prevail in most of the subdivisions with maximum anomalies in subdivisions from northwest India and north India.
D Sivananda Pai, head of IMD's long-range forecasting division, was quoted by The Times of India: "North India is expected to be mainly dry with clear skies and anti-cyclonic winds that raise temperatures The higher than normal temperatures there seem to be linked with global warming signals,"
"Maximum temperatures in the southern and eastern parts of India could be close to normal, indicating cloudiness and good pre-monsoon showers in these regions," Pai added.
Normal to slightly below normal maximum temperatures are likely to prevail over subdivisions of eastern, east-central and southern parts of the country. The seasonal average maximum temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal by around one degree Celsius in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Himachal Pradesh.
They are likely to be between 0.5 degree Celsius and one degree Celsius in Uttarakhand, west Uttar Pradesh and east and west Rajasthan. Remaining subdivisions are likely to experience near normal maximum temperature anomalies, the IMD predicted.
The season averaged minimum temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal by around one degree Celsius in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh and east and west Rajasthan.
They are likely to be between 0.5 degree Celsius and one degree Celsius in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, east and west Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Vidarbha, Madhya Maharashtra, Saurashtra and Gujarat.
Rest of the subdivisions are likely to experience minimum temperature anomalies of less than 0.5 degree Celsius.
The previous year, 2016, was recorded as the hottest year since 1901. That year, Phalodi in Rajasthan had recorded 51 degrees Celsius, the highest-ever recorded in India by then.
The respite, according to the IMD prediction, is that the this year's average temperature, despite being "above normal" in most parts of India, would be slightly lower than 2017.
'Monsoon on time'
IMD director-general KJ Ramesh said thunderstorms in east, east-central and southern India will keep these parts generally cooler. "This is also an indication that the onset of monsoon will be on time," M Rajeevan, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said.
Severe heat-wave conditions in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have killed thousands of people over the past a few years. According to a government data released last year, 4,624 people died due to heat-wave between 2013 and 2017, of which 92 percent of casualties were reported from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
"The AMJ seasonal average temperatures in most of the (meteorological) subdivisions are likely to be cooler than that of last year. Normal heatwave conditions are likely over core heat-wave zone of the country," the IMD bulletin added.
This, however, does not mean there will be no heat-waves this year. "Usually, there are three-four heat-waves every year. This year, we expect it to remain the same," Rajeevan added.
Central and northern India are generally considered the core heat-wave zones.
A heat-wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the north-western parts of India, according to information available on the website of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Apr 02, 2018 12:47 PM