CHENNAI: Chennai witnessed its hottest day this Kathri season on Tuesday, breaching the 40 degree Celsius barrier. For the past three days, after the ‘unusual’ rains have stopped, the city has been witnessing a steep rise in temperatures.
Finally, Nungambakkam weather station clocked 40 degree Celsius this afternoon for the first time this season. The bad news is the extreme heat wave conditions are likely to continue for at least next five days.
MET officials have attributed the dry conditions to strong north westerlies that are dominating Chennai wind pattern. The delayed sea breeze flow is not helping the cause. North westerlies are blowing hot from morning itself, extending the peak heat hours. Usually, the peak heat hours are between 11 am to 4.30 pm, but with 39(+) degrees from as early as 10.30, the dry conditions are continuing till 5.30 pm.
Going by statistics of last ten years, there hasn’t been a single year where maximum temperature didn’t breach the 40 degree Celsius barrier in May. The maximum temperatures ranged between 40.9 degrees to 43 degrees. It’s in May end that temperatures peak. The all-time record was 45 degree Celsius recorded on May 31, 2003, a drought year. There might be a relief at the month end with weather models showing some rainfall activity in Vellore region. However, there is no consensus on whether it would have any effect on Chennai.