April 2, 2017 12:40:23 am
IT’S OFFICIAL now. Three days after Bhira, an otherwise nondescript village in Maharashtra’s Raigad district about a hundred kilometres from Pune, hit national headlines by reporting 46.5 degrees Celsius, a team from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday confirmed that the instruments were working all right. Bhira, then, was the warmest place in India on March 29, the department said. The IMD experts’ visit comes in the backdrop of questions being raised over accuracy of the instruments here. The team, which checked the instruments and the set-up, will submit a detailed report to the Department on Monday. “On verification, (we found) there is no fault in the instruments. Details will be known once the report is submitted on Monday,” senior IMD scientist S G Kamble told The Indian Express.
The instruments are installed inside the hydropower plant of Tata Power Company in Bhira. They are owned by the IMD but are operated by the plant’s employees, and the department’s officials inspect them once every year. According to another IMD official, Hemant Karekar, this, however, is not the first time this village has reported such high day temperatures. “In 2005, there was an instance when the temperature here was in similar range,” Karekar said. But it has never been this hot in recent memory, villagers said.
Bhira is one of the five villages in the district, surrounded by the Sahyadri ranges on three sides. And that, too, helps the mercury’s high jump every year. One of the main reasons for such high temperatures, experts say, is the fact that the basalt-laden hills around these villages get very hot. “Because of this topography, hot winds blowing over this region adds to the discomfort,” Karekar said. “The hills also obstruct the sea breeze, which would have otherwise kept the temperatures in control.”
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