April, and already on the boil as heat wave grips India
It is just the beginning of the summer season but a heat wave has gripped most parts of India with the searing sun worsening the farm crisis in drought-hit Bundelkhand and Vidarbha, and forcing municipalities to ration water in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
A girl washes her face in order to cool off on a hot Monday in New Delhi.
The usual temperature during the start of April averages around 35-36° Celsius but it has breached the 40° Celsius mark in many places. The temperature was as high as 44° in Nagpur.
The good news is that the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted a fall in temperature in the next few days. But the respite will be temporary as temperatures are expected to soar for the rest of the month.
In Maharashtra, where temperature touched 44° Celsius in several places — five degrees above average — civic bodies have imposed water cuts in Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad and Nagpur.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has slashed water supply by 15% after imposing 20% water cut for residential societies and 50% cut for commercial establishments last August.
In Madhya Pradesh, municipal bodies have started water rationing in Damoh, Tikamgarh in Bundelkhand region, Mahidpur in Ujjan and parts of Malwa, where drinking water is being supplied once in three days.
Private weather forecasting agency Skymet said northwest India may witness a marginal drop in maximum temperature.
During the next 48 hours, heat wave conditions are likely to abate from Delhi-NCR and Rajasthan due to a change in wind direction.
Similarly, a wind discontinuity from Marathwada to Comorin across Karnataka can lead to scattered light rain over parts of north Maharashtra adjoining Madhya Pradesh.
However, the relief will be short lived. Temperatures are likely to witness a rise after three to four days. Significant relief from hot weather conditions is highly unlikely in the coming days, Skymet said.
The IMD concurred, saying heat wave conditions were primarily due to poor westerly disturbances that provide rainfall to northwestern India during this period. This is also an after effect of the weather event El-Nino that caused the poor monsoon last year.
In Punjab’s Amritsar, where summer temperature touches 50° Celsius, the taps are running dry in many localities. Many cities in UP such as Allahabad, Agra, Jhansi and Noida recorded temperature of more than 40° Celsius.
In Jharkhand, the temperature hovered around 41° Celsius, and people in cities like Ranchi blocked traffic to protest over no supply of drinking water for past week.
Authorities were supplying water once in three days in parts of Ranchi since October due to deficient rainfall but the situation has turned worse, claim residents. Ranchi-based India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said the summer could turn harsher in the next 48 hours.