The mercury breached a more than 30-year high for the month of April as the city sizzled under a temperature of 45.8 degrees Celsius, the blistering conditions severely hitting normal life and prompting the government to order closure of schools till April 20.
The previous maximum for the month of April in the Odisha state capital was 45 degrees recorded on April 23, 1985, said IMD director Sarat Sahu, who issued a warning for severe heat-wave conditions in some parts of coastal and north interior Odisha in the next 24 hours.
The mercury was touching 44 degrees by 11.30 AM and had risen to 45.8 degrees by 3 PM, IMD officials said.
According to IMD data, as many as 17 places in the state had recorded temperatures of above 40 degrees by 2 PM.
Chandbali on the coast recorded a high of 44.4 degrees while the coal town of Talcher saw the mercury touch 43.8 degrees. The maximum at Jharsuguda and Sundargarh was 43.5 degrees.
The relative humidity level in Bhubaneswar went up to 90 per cent, making for sultry conditions that forced most people to remain indoors.
Explaining the rise in temperatures in the state capital and other parts of the coastal region, Sahu said wind flow across Odisha was from the west in the morning but suddenly changed course to north-west by 9 AM, leading to the jump in the mercury.
“The temperature will rise further if the wind flow from the sea towards the surface does not set in early,” Sahu said, adding that although there is a possibility of a thunder squall, there is no indication of clouds.
With heatwave conditions prevailing across Odisha for one week now, the state government has received reports of at least 17 alleged sunstroke death cases.
“We checked four of the cases and found that the cause of death was other than heat-related incidents,” Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Mohapatra said after attending a high- level meeting presided by Chief Secretary AP Padhi.
Therefore, blowing of sea breeze towards the surface was obstructed. Unless the air mass goes up, it will not support the formation of clouds, thus reducing possibility of rains, he said.
The SRC said all schools across the state would remain closed from tomorrow till April 20.
“We will decide whether to extend the holiday after taking stock of the weather conditions on April 20. The schools which have examinations to hold may do so in the morning or in the evening,” the SRC added.