CHENNAI: Even before the scars of December floods in Chennai have healed fully, there are ominous signs of a very hot summer sweeping across the southern states. Already, some of the parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and interior parts of Tamil Nadu are experiencing a heat wave with temperature soaring over 40 degree Celsius and remember this is just the beginning of the summer!
Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a temperature warning on Tuesday saying maximum temperature is likely to increase by 1 or 2 degrees over parts of Telangana and interior Tamil Nadu and heat wave conditions likely to prevail over some parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh.
The temperatures are at least 3-6 degrees above normal and with no significant weather activity forecast, the condition is only going to worsen. For instance, Nungambakkam weather station in Chennai has recorded 36.1 degrees, whereas Meenambakkam registered 38.3 degrees, which is 3-4 degrees above normal. On the same day last year, it was 35.1 degrees. The hottest place so far in the State was Salem recording 40.7 degrees followed by Karur, which also breached 40 degrees.
The situation is more alarming in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where Nandigama in Krishna district and Khammam recording 43 degrees, while Vijayawada registered 42.6 degrees. Anantapur, Tirupati and Kurnool also clocked over 42 degrees and Hyderabad recorded 41.2 degrees, an all-time record for the month of March.
In Karnataka, the northern districts like Gulbarga, Raichur and Bijapur turned out to be the hottest with temperatures scoring 40-41 degrees consistently in last couple of days. Odisha also saw temperature crossing 40 degrees.
The only respite was for people in Kerala, where isolated thundershowers were witnessed bringing down the temperature levels, which otherwise was experiencing dry weather and temperatures hovering around 39 degrees for last one month.
Dr Ramesh Kumar Yadav, scientist at Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune said this unusual advent of early summer was due to zero rainfall activity and movement of dry westerly winds. The usual northwesterly winds, which bring cool breeze into the region, have failed this time due to western disturbance.
The official has also ruled out this being due to El Nino effect. “The Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) has gone down, which means El Nino doensn’t have a say on Indian summer. It is possible that if temperatures continue to rise, the pressure gradient will develop and attract strong north-east monsoon even this year,” he said.
The Experimental Multimodel Ensemble (MME) has forecast the heat wave and according to which the temperatures will drop slightly after March 24 and pick-up again in April.