IT MAY be for the first time in nearly two decades that heatwave conditions are being experienced as early as in February in the country. According to weather experts, last month’s heatwave, which gripped West coast of Maharashtra, was an uncommon phenomenon for the coastal region. There were two spells of heatwave in February, during which the day temperatures in Konkan shot to 40 degrees Celsius, with each spell lasting for about a week’s time. Mumbai and Ratnagiri in particular recorded 38 degrees Celsius during this period.
“Though the exact cause needs to be studied, we have not recorded such high day temperatures in nearly two decades along the coastal regions, that too very rarely occurring in the month of February,” stated a senior meteorologist at India Meteorology Department (IMD), Pune. Presently, the heatwave condition continues to prevail over three states – Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
For the last two years, mortality caused by heatwave has been on the rise, with nearly 2,000 people killed in 2015 and 700 killed in 2016. The worst affected regions remained Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. “Though heatwave is experienced mostly in April and May, on some occasions in early June in north India, this year there is a different pattern emerging,” stated another weather expert at IMD.
IMD has invited all the stake holders including the officials from the state health departments, disaster management and others in order to plan ways to tackle heatwave this year. The two-day workshop will be held in the national capital will end on March 29. Though IMD has been issuing heatwave alerts for the last two years, it has not garnered required response from the state governments, district administrations or health departments, stated IMD official.
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