North India to get hotter in 2018: IMD forecast of expected rise in maximum temperature across India between March and May 2018. Graphic: Hindustan Times

By Rinchen Norbu Wangchuk
1 March 2018

(The Better India) – Even though the month of March has just begun, parts of this country are already experiencing a taste of what promises to be a scorching summer.

On Wednesday, the Indian Meteorological Department warned the districts of Raigad, Ratnagiri, and Mumbai in Maharashtra that the heatwave-like conditions they are experiencing today are likely to persist.

Temperatures in these districts are expected to touch 38 degrees Celsius—six degrees above normal for this time of the year.

“The heatwave conditions are for isolated parts of the Konkan coast, including Mumbai, due to a lower-level anti-cyclonic circulation over Gujarat and parts of Maharashtra, which is bringing warm easterly to north-easterly winds over Mumbai and the surrounding areas,” said KS Hosalikar, the deputy director of IMD (West), to the Hindustan Times. “The easterly winds are also not allowing the sea breeze [cool westerly winds] to settle over the city fast enough.”

The weather body has requested citizens from these districts to hydrate themselves regularly and avoid stepping out at day. On a pan-India scale, this summer is likely to be warmer than usual. “Seasonal [March to May] average temperatures over many of the subdivisions from northwest and neighbouring central India are likely to be above normal by more than one degree Celsius.”

According to data presented by Ministry of Home Affairs, 2400 people had died as a result of heat waves in 2015. This figure (2400) was more than the number of deaths caused by any other natural disaster. “Above normal moderate and severe heat wave conditions are likely in the core heat wave zone during the season,” the weather agency added.

Here are some basic measures we could take to mitigate any suffering the summer heat is likely to bring. [more]

IMD Predicts Severe Heat Waves This Summer: These Steps Can Keep You Safe


By Malavika Vyawahare
28 February 2018

NEW DELHI (Hindustan Times) – Summer seems to arrived early across India with maximum temperatures already hovering around 2-5 degrees Celsius above normal in many parts of the country on February 28 — the day the IMD picked to predict an intense summer across India, implying a greater threat to human and crop health.

The early onset of summer also means a higher probability of heat waves developing earlier than expected, IMD said. On Wednesday, the agency issued a heat wave warning for Mumbai, Raigad and Ratnagiri for Wednesday and Thursday.

Heat waves don’t just impact human health; they also affect crops, deplete water resources and put pressure on the power system because of the spike in demand for cooling. The above-average temperatures could affect winter crops, including staple wheat, in the absence of precautionary measures, experts warned. “Wheat is susceptible to a condition called terminal heat if, during maturing and harvesting stage, temperatures rise abnormally,” said Dr R Nagesh, a retired scientist from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute.

“There is a danger of productivity losses.”

A sustained heat wave is bad news for farmers across the country who are already battling an agricultural crisis.

The National Disaster Management Authority describes a heat wave as a period of abnormally high temperature. IMF’s own criteria says a heat wave need not be considered till the maximum temperature reaches 40 degrees Celsius or, if it is lower than that, when the maximum temperature is 5-6 degrees Celsius more than the normal temperature. On Wednesday, Mumbai recorded a maximum temperature of 37.4 degrees Celsius, 5.5 degrees above normal. This was the third successive day of heat-wave conditions in the city (the maximum temperature was higher at 37.8 degrees on 27 February 2018), which perhaps explains IMD’s move. Other parts of Maharashtra were hotter. The highest temperature in the state was recorded at Bhira (41 degrees Celsius, 5 degrees above normal). […]

In Delhi, heat wave conditions normally develop in the beginning of May, when maximum temperatures breach the 40 degrees Celsius threshold. That looks likely to happen earlier this year with the northern plains already heating up. “The maximum temperature in the northern region has already touched 36.2 degrees C on February 27,” Kuldeep Srivastava, a senior IMD scientist said. “The maximum and minimum temperatures in February were about 3 degrees C above normal.”

“It is likely that heat wave conditions will hit the region earlier than expected,” he added. [more]

Summer arrives early, IMD forecasts intense heat this year

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