India can now forecast heat waves, warn regions prone to extremely hot days and bring down casualties, with its first-ever, real time forecast technology developed by the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM).
The forecast will be released every five days and can predict how hot the next 20 days will be. The first forecast was released on April 12, the next will come on April 17. IITM will predict heat waves till the end of June, when the monsoon brings down temperatures.
“Last year, more than 2,500 people died because of heat waves across the country. This is also a calamity caused by weather and is as important as drought and flood. This year, the ministry of earth sciences has embarked on forecasting heat wave conditions,” said AK Sahai, a senior scientist at IITM.
Heat waves or severe heat waves occur when excessively hot weather, beyond a threshold temperature, extends over a prolonged period.
The forecast for April 12 to April 16 says eastern Uttar Pradesh, south interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Rayalseema are likely to face heat wave conditions. Between April 17 and April 21, heat wave conditions are likely over parts of northwest and central India – Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Gangetic West Bengal – and parts of the southern peninsula, including Telangana and Rayalseema.
IITM will send the forecast to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which will then pass it on to authorities who can ensure the region is prepared. The information will also be put up on IMD’s website.
Heat waves have increased on India over the past 50 years, between 1961 and 2010, and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh being most prone, an analysis by the Pune-based IMD showed .
“After providing IMD with the southwest monsoon forecast since 2010, last year, we sent across a forecast for the to northeast monsoon as well. This gave an indication of increased rainfall over Tamil Nadu, which had resulted in the Chennai floods,” said a senior IITM scientist. who is not authorized to talk to the media.
“Forecasting heat waves this year is an extension of this exercise, and we will also be providing similar forecast for cold waves at the end of the year,” the scientist said.
April 12 to April 16 will also see temperature going above the normal maximum temperatures in parts of some eastern states, like east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha and peninsular India.
Likewise, most parts of India will also experience above normal temperatures between April 17 and April 21, except western coastal regions, Gujarat, western Madhya Pradesh and north-eastern states.