Heatwave singes North India

| | New Delhi
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Heatwave singes North India

Wednesday, 19 June 2024 | Archana Jyoti | New Delhi

Heatwave singes North India

No respite is likely any time soon from an unrelenting heatwave scorching North India, with Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Punjab bearing the brunt, warns the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The weather office has issued a red alert as temperatures threaten to skyrocket beyond 46 degrees Celsius, causing severe distress across the region, and making the year 2024 to be the hottest with the highest number of heatwaves in the past 15 years.

The IMD said on Tuesday that Delhi, which has been reeling under a blistering weather for the past few days, might experience slight relief intermittently brought by duststorms and scattered showers on Wednesday i.e. June 19. “But these will only provide temporary respite for a few hours or half a day,” said the IMD statement. 

The continuing severe heatwave conditions are proving a serious health threat for the vulnerable. In Bihar alone, 22 lives have been claimed by the extreme heat and oppressive humidity within just 24 hours, taking the heat-related deaths over 100 since the onset of the heatwaves in late March.  Officials said India is in the middle of the longest heatwave it has seen since records began. Temperatures have crossed 50 degrees Celsius in some areas recently.

Relief from high temperatures is also unlikely at nights, said the IMD officials. “Unusually hot nights is making life tougher for the people as they get little chance to recover from day-time heat if temperatures remain high overnight,” he added.

Warm to severe warm night conditions are very likely to remain in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and warm night conditions in isolated/some pockets of Punjab, Haryana-Chandigarh-Delhi on June 19th, while hot and humid weather is very likely over Odisha, and Bihar till June 20, said the IMD.

In Delhi, the maximum temperature is likely to hover between 42 degrees Celsius and 45 degrees Celsius, which is over 5 degrees above the normal June temperature.

On Tuesday, the heat index, or the feels-like temperature, surged to nearly 50 degrees Celsius while the mercury had touched 45 degrees Celsius. The real relief will be expected only with the arrival of the monsoon, which is more than 12 days away from Delhi, the IMD official said. 

In Rajasthan, crippling heatwave continues with Ganganagar recording the highest maximum temperature at 46.2 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, the IMD said.  The Jaipur Meteorological Centre has issued a warning of heatwave in many areas of the state for the next few days. The situation in other States, like Uttarakhand, is also not very pleasant weather-wise with the most-visited Dehradun city recording a maximum temperature of 43.1 degrees Celsius.

Mussorie also sizzled at 43 degrees Celsius.

 Even hill towns like Pauri and Nainital are experiencing a heatwave with little to no rainfall in three months. Hill state of Himachal Pradesh is baking at 44 degrees Celsius  -- 6.7 degrees above average while in Jammu and Kashmir, Katra recorded a maximum temperature of 40.8 degrees Celsius. The mercury touched 44.3 degrees in Jammu.

The weatherman said that respite from the sweeping heatwave was expected this week but a shift in winds through the Arabian Sea has delayed the cooling down of the plains.

“Another reason is that the monsoon has been stagnant over West Bengal since June 1. As long as the monsoon does not cover these areas, North India will remain under a continuous heatwave,” former IMD Director General, KJ Ramesh told a news channel. He said that respite from the sweeping heatwave was expected this week but a shift in winds through the Arabian Sea has delayed the cooling down of the plains.

“After June 27, most areas of Uttar Pradesh will get relief followed by western UP, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab,” he said. Meanwhile, amid heatwave pushing electricity demand, especially in the northern region, the Union Power Ministry on Tuesday said he had asked all utilities “to maintain a high state of alert and minimise forced outages of equipment.

“ The country’s northern region has been experiencing high electricity demand due to heatwave since May 17, 2024, but despite these challenging conditions, the highest- ever peak demand of 89 GW in the northern region was successfully met on June 17, 2024.

 It was made possible by importing 25-30 per cent of the region’s power requirement from neighbouring regions, it said.   In response to the increased electricity demand and to ensure adequate power availability across the country, the Ministry of Power has implemented a series of measures to meet the highest ever peak demand of 250 GW during the ongoing summer season.


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