A cold wave-like weather has gripped Jharkhand with minimum temperature on Wednesday night dipping up to 5.6 degrees Celsius below the normal for this time of the year. Two elderly people died reportedly due to the cold in the state in the past two days.
The Met department on Thursday forecast no relief from the cold till Friday night.
Kanke, a suburb of the state capital, recorded the lowest 4.4 degrees Celsius on Wednesday night followed by Giridih at 8.2 degrees Celsius. Temperature in Ranchi settled at 9.3 degrees Celsius, an official said.
“Mercury is dipping in Jharkhand due to impact of a western disturbance in Jammu and Kashmir three days ago. Unrestrained wind from northwest for the past two days has aggravated the chill effect,” said RS Sharma, the forecasting officer at Ranchi Meteorological Centre.
A western disturbance is a low pressure system that originates over the Mediterranean sea and moves eastwards, bringing winter rain and snow to Indian subcontinent’s northwestern parts.
Sharma said Jharkhand was close to a cold wave. “To declare a cold wave, it is necessary that night temperature falls by 4.5 degrees Celsius from the normal for two consecutive days,” he said.
The two deaths were reported from Ramgarh district, which is shivering at 9 degrees Celsius. Deceased Kavitri Devi, 76, is a resident of Ichkadih area while Md Ayub, 60, is a resident of Argadda Budh Bazaar. Their family claimed that they died of the cold.
Ramgarh deputy development commissioner Sunil Kumar Singh, however, said he has no information about any cold related death in the district. The administration has taken adequate measures to protect poor people, he said.
“We will soon start distribution of blankets. We have also issued directive to officials to arrange bonfire for the poor,” Singh said.
Ranchi Municipal Corporation, meanwhile, arranged bonfire facilities at nine places while the district administration is distributing blankets among homeless people.
With mercury dipping, number of patients suffering from cold related ailments is on the rise in hospitals. Sanjay Srivastava, a project officer at disaster management department, said ₹62.25 lakh have been released to 24 districts for cold wave prevention and mitigation.