As an unprecedented heatwave swept across Odisha today, the Naveen Patnaik government ordered closure of all the schools till April 20.
“All the schools in the state have been asked to suspend the classes from tomorrow till April 20. We will review the heatwave situation on April 20 and take a decision whether to continue with the closure of the schools further or not. If exams are scheduled to be held during this period, school authorities will conduct examinations during morning or evening hours so that the students are not inconvenienced,” Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said.
The State government’s decision came after mercury soared to 45.8 degree Celsius in Bhubaneswar, its all-time high temperature for the month of April. The heatwave which is sweeping the State since last week, would continue to singe till April 20,” said local Meteorological office.
The rising heat has led to increasing number deaths due to sunstroke. Special relief commissioner Mohapatra said he has received 16 reports of deaths allegedly due to sunstroke till date.
The previous high for the month of April was in 1985 when the temperature in Bhubaneswar soared to 45.8 degrees Celsius. Last month too, the daytime temperature in the city had touched 42.2 degree Celsius, its all-time high for March.
“The hot wind from western and north-western sector is passing through central India where temperature remained above 40 degree. Though wind flow was from the west direction in the morning, it changed its course to north-west direction by 9 AM resulting in the sharp rise in temperature within three hours through advection of heat,” said Sarat Chandra Sahu, director of Regional Metrological Office.
“Due to stable atmosphere, the air is not moving upwards as a result of which condition does not get favourable for cloud formation. Since October, there has been no visible rainfall in the State. The dry nature of soil also helps reflection of heat.”
There is little respite from heatwave for next week as the atmospheric systems, which cause rains, is yet to form.
Met officials said Norwesters normally form during such days as hot air becomes lighter and goes upwards allowing the flow of wind from the sea and triggering rain through quick formation of clouds.
“But in most parts of Odisha, though surface temperature remains comparatively lower in the night, the air in the upper atmosphere has remained hot. The radiation of hot air from the earth is not able to move up to the upper atmosphere. So blowing of sea breeze towards land is obstructed. So possibility of formation of Norwester is slim,” said Sahu.
Today, roads in Bhubaneswar were deserted in the noon as mercury soared.