Heatwave in northwest, central India; rain in 17 states: IMD
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a fresh heatwave alert for the country's northwestern and central regions while cyclone Asani is expected to bring rain to the southern and eastern states. It predicted rain in over 17 states, with heatwave conditions returning after a brief respite in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Gujarat. On Sunday, Delhi's temperature rose to 42 °C.
- The IMD predicted that after a brief respite, northwest India, including Delhi, and central India are likely to witness heatwave conditions this week.
- Notably, this year, northwest and central India experienced the hottest April in 122 years due to meager rainfall.
- The sweltering heat across most parts of India has increased power demand, too, resulting in coal shortages and power blackouts in several states.
Heatwave conditions are likely to return this week in Maharashtra, Vidarbha, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Delhi, said the IMD. The IMD officials, however, noted that this heatwave spell would not be as severe as the ones witnessed in the last two months. Furthermore, the IMD predicted that the maximum temperature in Delhi will be 45-46 °C on Wednesday (May 11).
A new round of heatwave is expected to raise maximum temperatures by 2-4 °C over most of the northwest and central India over the next three days, said the IMD. Heatwave conditions are expected in Rajasthan and south Haryana from Monday to Thursday, as well as in Delhi, southwest Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra until Wednesday.
The IMD predicted that the rise in temperature will continue into the week, issuing a "yellow alert" (warning of a possible weather phenomenon) for Delhi from Tuesday to Saturday. "The impact of the western disturbance has gone away and dry westerly winds are returning, which will raise the maximum temperature to 45 degrees [Celsius] in many places of Delhi," an IMD official said.
The deep depression in the Bay of Bengal has intensified into a cyclonic storm, Asani, which is predicted to bring heavy rainfall in at least 17 states, including Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand. Lightning and rain are possible in the northeastern states until Wednesday. It might also rain in Himachal Pradesh, Leh-Ladakh, and Uttarakhand, said the IMD.
Thunder and lightning have been predicted in Kerala, Karnataka, Karaikal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Goa, prompting a rain alert in the southern and some central regions of India. Meanwhile, the weather in India's northern hilly states will also remain pleasant, as per the IMD.
In March, Abinash Mohanty, Programme Lead at the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), said the IMD's heatwave alerts reflect the effects of climate extremes in recent years. This is consistent with projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. "Increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme events...is a result of human-caused landscape disruptions...which causes temperature and precipitation anomalies," Mohanty stated.
According to CEEW's Climate Vulnerability Index, Indian districts' landscape attributes (tree cover, forest coves, wetlands, and mangroves, among others) have changed by 45%, causing such extreme weather conditions. "Rapid deployment of nature-based solutions can mitigate the impact of climatic extremities. They also pay a double dividend of enhancing resilience by generating socio-economic and environmental benefits that can climate-proof lives and livelihoods," Mohanty had asserted.