MARCH temperatures in Maharashtra could be portents of a particularly difficult summer with Bhira, a small village in Raigad barely 135 km from Mumbai, recording a maximum of 45 degrees Celsius earlier this week and Solapur and Jalgaon also following closely. Bhira, known mainly for its hydro-electric plant, was the hottest place in Maharashtra this week.
According to data from the India Meteorological Depart-ment (IMD), Mumbai, the highest maximum temperature in the state was 45 degrees Celsius recorded at Bhira on Wednesday afternoon. Bhira also recorded the highest maximum temperature in the state on Tuesday at 43 degrees Celsius.
On Monday and Thursday, the highest maximum temperatures were recorded at Solapur and Jalgaon respectively, almost matching Bhira’s scorching spring, at 41 and 43 degrees Celsius respectively.
Bhira is home to the third hydropower plant of the Tata Power Company Ltd. (TPCL), set up in 1927. Bhira dam, popularly known as the Tata Powerhouse dam, is also an occasional getaway spot for Mumbaikars, owing to the little quaint village and the nearby waterfall at Kolad. Kolad also has a white water rafting facility that remains open year-long.
With a population of around 2,500, approximately fifty per cent of the villagers depend on farming while the others are employed at the hydropower plant or in a nearby MIDC complex. Bhira village sarpanch Vijay Mhamunkar says that the average temperatures for March are usually around 40 degrees Celsius. “We do see 45 degrees Celsius, but that’s only during April-May,” Mhamunkar said.
“As of now, there is no heat wave in Maharashtra. The maximum temperatures, above 40, are being recorded due to the easterly winds, which are warm,” said VK Rajeev, director of IMD Mumbai and added that the maximum temperatures will decrease in the coming days.
According to the Skymet weather bureau, a heat wave is experienced when day temperatures settle beyond 40°C and are above normal by 5 or more degrees. “No relief is likely in coming days as mercury will continue to soar in absence of any weather system,” the Skymet report said, adding that some thundershowers may be expected on March 26 and 27 but they would bring only temporary relief.