Stay indoors: Mercury at 46.6 deg, red alert sounded for scorching North India
The sports complex at Commonwealth Games village in East Delhi on Friday recorded 46.6°C, more than 6°C than what is normal, according to weather officials who separately sounded a “red category” alert for the National Capital Region (NCR) and several states around it to warn people to brace for severely hot weather until Saturday.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) uses a colour-coded scale — green, yellow, amber and red — to denote the severity of weather condition, with red being the most extreme. Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, west and east Uttar Pradesh, parts of Rajasthan and Vidarbha are covered by the red warning, IMD said on Friday.
In extreme heat conditions, there is a very high likelihood of heat illness and heat stroke for people of all ages, the IMD’s health warning associated with the red category said. Even for orange category warning, the advice is to limit exposure to such conditions.
“North-westerly winds are blowing which are dry and warm. There is no weather system that can bring rainfall except for a very feeble western disturbance which may lower temperatures in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in a couple of days but not in the plains. Heat waves will continue in the plains,” said M Mohapatra, IMD’s director general of meteorology.
“Even if the maximum temperature doesn’t rise further in these places, because the heat is persistent, we have to issue a red category warning,” he added.
The highest temperature for the season was recorded at Banda in Uttar Pradesh at 48.2°C, 5 degrees above normal. Safdarjung, the station that is taken as representative of Delhi’s weather, recorded a high of 44.8°C — 4°C higher than normal.
Health experts warned that real harm from such conditions may not be recorded since heat-related casualty figures are not maintained.
“People do not pay attention to extreme heat is because heat-related mortality is neither tabulated nor published. The excess mortality data is not even being analysed by administration. The cause of death is not registered properly. IMD has started forecasting heat but cities need to document how heat is affecting hospital admissions and mortality,” said Dilip Malvankar, director, Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar.
Ahmedabad has a heat action plan that other cities are trying to emulate. “Drink more water, avoid exposure, take precautions and rest, go to the hospital if needed. Ahmedabad has about 700-800 places were water is given, night shelters are open in the day, people don’t work at construction sites between 11 am and 4 pm,” he added.
The capital does not have such action plans.
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