Temperature, humidity high as state braces for heatwave conditions
Temperature is expected to rise on May 18, 19 and 20.
Despite less intense heatwaves, rising temperatures coupled with high Relative Humidity (RH) have made this year’s summer highly uncomfortable, even fatal, for people. The maximum temperatures across the country have been showing a rising trend for the past couple of weeks. At the end of this week, starting Thursday, however, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast a possible heatwave condition for Maharashtra. Meanwhile, the onset of monsoon over Kerala has been predicted on June 4 this year.
“This year, we did not see heatwaves like we had last time. Even in our long-term forecast earlier this summer, we had predicted that there would be no heatwaves this time. The same was realised and we saw shorter periods of high temperature throughout,” Anupam Kashyapi, Weather Head at IMD Pune said.
As far as the conditions in Maharashtra are concerned, IMD officials say that in western Maharashtra, a heatwave is announced when the maximum temperature is between 43 to 45 degrees Celsius. In Vidarbha, heatwave conditions arise when the temperature crosses 45 degrees Celsius. Both these phenomena have not happened yet this year.
“This year, the marginal temperatures have been less than last year. However, the relative humidity is quite high. There has been a two-fold rise in the moisture this year, as compared to last year. This phenomenon is completely different from what we saw last time, when we had recurring and long heatwaves and no rainfall in the summer months. The moisture combined with the 40+ temperature has made the weather highly uncomfortable for people,” Kashyapi said.
While not a heatwave, the heat situation in the state is leading to severe consequences in the state, with a number of heat stroke cases and deaths being reported. One of the most severe ones was the death of at least 13 people attending the Maharashtra Bhushan award ceremony in Navi Mumbai’s Kharghar. Over 100 of those attending the event in scorching heat had taken ill and had to be admitted to hospitals.
“The rise in temperature and humidity leads to conditions that could make prolonged exposure to it fatal. Hence, we advise everyone to avoid being outdoors in the sun from 10:30-11 am to around 4:30 pm. If unavoidable, people must take all necessary precautions like wearing light couloured cotton clothes, covering their head and staying hydrated,” Kashyapi said.
Earlier this week, a pregnant woman from a tribal hamlet in Paghar’s Dahanu died of heatstroke after having to walk around 7 km to and from the local primary health centre for check-up as she was not feeling well.
The IMD has forecast a marginal rise in the temperature in the coming days. “On May 18, 19 and 20, there is a possibility that heatwave conditions might arise in the state,” Kashyapi said.
This year, Kashyapi said that even in the areas most vulnerable to heatwave, the conditions were comparatively bearable. “Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, interior Northern Karnataka, Gujarat, Vidarbha in Maharashtra are usually more prone to heatwaves. However, this year, there were barely recorded here. Only coastal Andhra Pradesh is currently facing a heatwave,” he adds.
Monsoon Onset 2023
The IMD has forecast the onset of monsoon over Kerala on June 4, with a model error of ± 4 days. It is expected to reach Maharashtra by June 6.
“The IMD has started monitoring over the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea to track monsoon activity May 10 onward. It is expected to reach Kerala by June 4, a slight delay from the usual onset of June 1. It will enter Goa on June 5, Maharashtra on June 6 and the coverage of the entire state is expected by June 15,” Kashyapi said.
The weather monitoring agencies worldover have predicted that the El Nino weather system is currently forming will have an impact on the global weather, also adversely impacting Monsoon in India. However, IMD says that the system will not impact Indian Monsoon any time soon.
“It is not a definitive correlation that monsoon is bound to be adverse in El Nino years. We have had El Nino years with a good monsoon season as well. This time, the system is expected to affect the second half of monsoon in India. But the impact could be very mild. Considering the situation so far, we are expecting a good season this time,” Kashyapi said.