Half of winter is gone like a cold summer. With barely any nip in the air, the spirit of bonfire festival Lohri has sagged.
This year was one of the warmest winters for several years and there is no prediction of cold weather even further. This winter’s average temperature has remained 4 to 5 degrees above normal. Rainfall in December or January was scanty.
Unlocking the mystery of warm winter, Chandigarh meteorological centre director Surender Paul said: “Western disturbances, which bring rainfall and snowfall in the northern parts, have been weak and shallow this year, and passing at higher altitudes, resulting in just cloudy weather devoid of snowfall and rain. It all leads to an increase in temperature.” Strong El Nino effect in the Pacific Ocean was another reason for warmer winter, he said. El Nino is characterised by unusually warm ocean temperature in the equatorial Pacific, which has consequences around the globe.
The weatherman has predicted warmer February in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. “The warmer conditions will remain for the next two weeks or so, with no significant rainfall. There is an indication that February will remain equally warm,” said Paul.
This year, the maximum temperature has remained 2 to 3 degrees above normal; while the minimum was around 3 to 4 degrees above normal. “During winter, temperature does not remain above normal for such a long time. This is unusual,” said the meteorological centre director. Warm winter has dampened the Lohri spirit among people. “There is no chill. What will be fun in sitting around bonfire. I do not even feel like celebrating the festival this year,” said Navdeep Singh of Panchkula.
“We have not witnessed any cold, fog, or rain this winter. It appears as though March has already arrived,” said Alok Diwan of Chandigarh.