In next three to four months, several states in India will face annual deadly heat waves like the one that claimed over 2,000 lives in India in 2015, according to a report on heat wave condition in the world this year.
Extreme heat events are expected to occur across India an analysis of 44 of the 101 most populous "megacities" across world showed that the number of cities experiencing heat stress doubled with 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, according to the researchers.
Northwest India, including several parts of Gangetic plains, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, are known to be core heatwave zones. Nearly 2,000 people lost their lives in 2015 and 700 in 2016, with the majority of cases coming from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
India Meteorological Department (IMD) along with state governments is making concerted efforts to ensure last mile connectivity for dissemination of information on heatwave to reduce the number of such casualties.
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The IMD along with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has asked states to take steps to avert deaths due to heatwave.
The weatherman has already predicted an "above normal" summer with occurrence of heatwave at several places.
IMD Director General KG Ramesh said the weather department would release heatwave forecast every Thursday for April, May and June.
"We recently had a meeting with states and advised them to take necessary steps so that lives are not lost due to heatwave. We are also ensuring last mile connectivity so that information on heatwave can be disseminated to the masses," he said.
"We have set a target to minimise the number of deaths due to heatwave to a two-digit figure. Dissemination of information is very important as we can only collect data, but action is taken by the local government."
"For this, last mile connectivity is crucial and we will ensure that information on heatwave reaches people," Ramesh added.
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Heat wave conditions in different states in last two days
Gujarat (40-42 degree)
Heat wave conditions will prevail at isolated regions in Gujarat before temperatures across the state return to normal in 2-3 days.
"Heat wave conditions remain mainly in North Gujarat region. Saurashtra-Kutch as well as South Gujarat regions are no longer experiencing heat wave," in-charge director of IMD Centre at Ahmedabad, Manorama Mohanty said on Thursday.
Temperatures across the state will be restored to normal in another 2-3 days, Mohanty said.
"As per current forecast, heat wave conditions will stay in north Gujarat region for another 24 hours," she said.
Temperatures in North Gujarat have been hovering between 40-42 degrees in the last few days.
Dry northerly winds have caused a rise in temperature and the dry conditions in the state can be attributed to lack of moisture, the official said.
On Monday, mercury in Ahmedabad touched 42.8 degrees breaking seven-year record for the month of March.
Read | Hottest morning of season recorded in Delhi at 23.7 degrees Celsius
Rajasthan ( 40-42 degree)
Heatwave and warm night conditions continued for the second consecutive day on Wednesday in Rajasthan as most districts in the state recorded maximum temperatures at above 40 degrees Celsius.
The MeT department has predicted dry weather in the next 24 hours at most places in the desert state.
The maximum and minimum temperatures is predicted to hover between 40 and 24 degrees Celsius respectively, it said.
Barmer was the hottest in the state today with mercury touching 43.4 degrees Celsius, followed by 43 degrees Celsius in Churu, 42.2 degrees Celsius in Kota, 42.1 degrees Celsius in Bikaner, 41.9 degrees Celsius in Jaisalmer, 40.5 degrees Celsius in Jaipur, 40.2 degrees Celsius in Jodhpur and 39.8 degrees Celsius in Ajmer.
Uttar Pradesh (40-42 degree)
Heat wave conditions prevailed over most parts of Uttar Pradesh today with Varanasi and Agra recording the highest temperature of 41.4 degrees Celsius.
The maximum temperature at Allahabad and Hamirpur also crossed the 40 degrees-mark, the MeT said.
Varanasi and Agra were the hottest places in the state with a high of 41.4 degrees followed by Hamirpur at 41.2 degrees Celsius, it said.
The weatherman has predicted hot weather conditions in various parts of the state in the next 24 hours.
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Even as entire Maharashtra is reeling under intense heat, the India Meteorolgical Department (IMD) suspects that the unusually high temperature of 46.5 degrees Celsius recorded by a temperature mapping centre at Bhira in Raigad district could be wrong.
The agency, which functions under the Ministry of Earth Sciences of the central government, has decided to conduct an inquiry into the unusual event.
The temperature mapping centre at Bhira near a private dam recorded the temperature as high as 46.5 degrees Celsius for 24 hours ending at 8 AM on March 28.
The IMD has decided to set up an enquiry in this case, an official of the weather agency told PTI.
"The IMD has reported temperature as high as 43 degree Celsius on Monday. It was a holiday on Tuesday, hence temperature was not recorded.
"When the temperature (at Bhira) was reported to be 46.5 degrees Celsius, we realised that something is wrong as no other place nearby recorded so high a temperature," said S G Kamble, divisional in-charge of Regional Meteorological Department at Colaba in Mumbai.
"No nearby location has recorded temperature close to 46.5 degrees Celsius. It clearly means, the recorded figures are to be doubted," he said.
For instance, Akola on March 29 recorded temperature at 44 degrees Celsius. Its nearby areas such as Wardha, Nagpur and Chandrapur have recorded 43 degrees Celsius. But in the case of Bhira, no nearby region had reported even 43 degrees Celsius," said the IMD official.
"Geographically, Bhira village is located in the Sahyadri mountains in Raigad district. It is a village close to a dam. The mountains are covered with dense forest. The height of the mountains around Bhira would be minimum 2,000 feet. In such a situation, if the mapping centre shows 46.5 degrees, it should be doubted," he said.
Those doing the temperature mapping at Bhira are not the employees of IMD though they were trained by the agency, he said, adding, "We will visit the location and find out why such a high temperature is being recorded."
Chhattisgarh (40-42 degree)
Maximum temperature of 40 degree Celsius or above was recorded in many parts of Chhattisgarh today, an official of India Meteorological Department said.
The highest temperature of 41.8 degree Celsius was recorded in Bilaspur.
The state capital Raipur witnessed the maximum temperature of 40.7 degree Celsius.
"Dry weather" is likely to prevail over Chhattisgarh for the next five days, as per the IMD forecast.
Madhya Pradesh (41-43 degree)
Heat wave prevailed in almost 80 per cent of Madhya Pradesh on March 29 as the highest temperature of 42.9 degree Celsius was recorded in Hoshangabad district.
Notably, the hill station of Pachmarhi is located in Hoshangabad district.
"Heat wave prevailed in 75 to 80 per cent area of Madhya Pradesh. This situation may continue for at least another two or three days," India Meteorological Department's Bhopal Centre Director Dr Anupam Kashyapi said.
Heat wave might continue at (or extend to) Hoshangabad, Gwalior, Chambal, Rewa, Shahdol, Sagar and Ujjain districts and surrounding regions in the next 24 hours, IMD forecast said.
Rising temperatures may also be experienced in Bhopal, Rajgarh, Dhar, Khandwa, Khargone, Indore, Mandla, Jabalpur and Balaghat districts.
The maximum temperatures in the four major cities today were as follows: Bhopal 40.4, Indore 40.6, Gwalior 41.6 and Jabalpur 40.9 degree Celsius.
Andhra Pradesh (40-42 degree)
Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh is reeling under intense heat as day temperatures have gradually started shooting up, crossing the 40-degree Celsius mark in the last few days.
Minimum temperatures are hovering around 23-25 degree Celsius in most parts of the state.
According to the weather office, Anantapuramu, Kadapa and Kurnool in Rayalaseema have been registering temperature of around 40 degree Celsius.
Anantapuramu city recorded a 1.6 degree increase in temperature in the last two days, with Wednesday's reading being 41.3 degree Celsius.
Kurnool also recorded 41 degree Celsius, while Kadapa is also inching towards the 40-degree mark.
Temple-town Tirupati, also in Rayalaseema, saw mercury rising above the 40-degree Celsius mark on Wednesday.
Srikakulam in north coastal Andhra recorded 38 degree while Rajamahendravaram and Kakinada registered 37 and 35.6 degrees Celsius respectively.
Nellore recorded 37 degree Celsius while temperatures in Vijayawada and Guntur in the state capital region Amaravati were around 38 degree Celsius.
It is expected that temperatures may rise by a couple of degrees this week in most parts of Rayalaseema and also in the capital region while the summer heat may intensify in the second week of April, according to an official of the State Disaster Management Department.
Haryana (40-42 degree)
Narnaul in Haryana on Wednesday sizzled at 42 degrees Celsius as maximum temperature across the state and neighbouring Punjab hovered several notches above normal limits.
Chandigarh, the common capital of the two states, recorded a high of 35.9 degrees Celsius, four notches more than normal.
Narnaul was hotter by record nine notches than the normal limits, a MeT Department official said here.
Hisar also experienced a hot day at 38.3 degrees Celsius, five notches above normal limits.
Ambala, too, had a hot day at 37.2 degrees Celsius, up seven degrees against normal, while Karnal's maximum temperature settled at 36.4 degrees Celsius, up six notches against normal.
Punjab (35-37 degree)
In Punjab, Patiala registered a maximum of 37 degrees Celsius, seven notches more than normal, while Ludhiana also recorded seven degrees above normal high at 36.7 degrees Celsius.
Amritsar's maximum settled at 35 degrees Celsius, six notches above normal limits.
Rajasthan (40 degree)
Severe heatwave and warm night conditions were witnessed on Tuesday in Rajasthan as most districts recorded maximum temperatures at above 40 degrees Celsius.
Temperatures at most places were 1 to 2 degrees Celsius above the normal.
On Tuesday, the MeT department predicted dry weather for next 24 hours at most places in the desert state.
Maximum and minimum temperature is predicted to be between 41 and 24 degrees Celsius respectively, it said.
Churu was the hottest on Tuesday with mercury touching 43 degrees Celsius, followed by 42.4 degrees Celsius in Barmer, 42.2 degrees Celsius in Bikaner, 41.8 degrees Celsius in Kota, 41.5 degrees Celsius in Jaisalmer, 41 degrees Celsius in Udaipur, 40.4 degrees Celsius in Ajmer and 38.4 degrees Celsius in Sriganganagar.
State capital, Jaipur, recorded 41 degrees Celsius. On Monday, Barmer was the hottest with a maximum temperature of 44.4 degrees Celsius, a Met department spokesperson said.
Night temperature too witnessed an upward swing with Barmer recording 27.9 degrees Celsius and other cities recording minimum temperatures above 21 degrees Celsius.
A Global crisis
Cuntries supporting the 2015 Paris Agreement have pledged to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
However, extreme heat events are expected to occur ever more often as the two degree Celsius limit is approached, researchers said.
An analysis of 44 of the 101 most populous "megacities" showed that the number of cities experiencing heat stress doubled with 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, researchers said.
The trend would potentially expose more than 350 million additional people to heat stress by 2050, if population continues to grow as expected, researchers said.
"As the climate warms, the number and intensity of heat waves increases," said Tom Matthews, a climatologist at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK.
"Research has shown this to be the case for the global warming experienced to date, and our research is the latest to show that we can expect even larger increases as the climate continues to warm," Matthews was quoted as saying by 'Health Day'.
Even if global warming is halted at Paris goals, the megacities of Karachi in Pakistan and Kolkata in India could face annual conditions similar to the deadly heat waves that gripped those regions in 2015, researchers said.
(With inputs from PTI)