Pune on Sunday experienced possibly the hottest ever summer day in last 52 years, as the city’s maximum temperature touched 43 degrees Celsius, which was 5.1 degrees above normal for this time of the year.
In April 1967, the day temperature in Pune had touched 43 degrees. The city usually experiences peak summer temperatures in mid-May, when the mercury hovers around 42 degrees for a day or two.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said that the ongoing heatwave has attained its peak and day temperature was likely to see a marginal decline by April 30.
“The heatwave intensity shall now reduce and the day temperatures will marginally drop from Tuesday onwards. However, nights will continue to remain warmer than usual till middle of the week for most parts of Maharashtra. Some isolated pockets of Vidarbha will experience heatwave till May 3,” Anupam Kashyapi, head of weather department at IMD, Pune, said.
On Sunday, Akola and Parbhani recorded 47.2 degrees Celsius both to become the hottest cities in Maharashtra. Khargone in Madhya Pradesh was the hottest city in India on the day recording 47.5 degrees.
Referring to the unprecedented hot conditions, Kashyapi said, “Along with soaring temperatures, absence of any strong weather system to mitigate this heat has aggravated the situation. There is a continuous flow of warm north-westerly winds over Maharashtra, which completely lacks in moisture incursion.”
Additionally, a brewing cyclonic storm, Fani, over the Bay of Bengal, too has pushed mercury levels to settle at a higher level, above normal, for parts of Maharashtra.
“This intense system, which created a wind convergence, dragged all the moisture from west and central India regions over to the Bay of Bengal, leaving behind these regions largely dry and adding to the already hot conditions,” the weather department head said.
Such dryness has also affected the soil moisture. “The black soil, found commonly in Maharashtra, also plays a vital role in controlling the temperatures. And this time, the dryness has led to maximum latent heat over the region,” Kashyapi said.
The effect of the severe heatwave has been further enhanced due to its prolonged duration. “This is the first spell of heatwave of the season that has prevailed over a vast geographical area spanning Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh. Besides, many stations here recorded day temperatures around or over 45 degrees, that is, the spell was a of high intensity that lasted for more than five consecutive days, all together making it an unusually warm week,” Kashyapi said.
Lack of pre-monsoon showers during also significantly contributed towards the heat.