Heat wave to persist until 27 Apr: IMD
The Indian Meteorological Department stated that the current heat wave conditions will persist until 27 April. The IMD made the announcement as it issued new severe heat wave warnings for Odisha, Telangana, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradhesh. Vidarbha in Maharashtra, Bihar and the Gangetic West Bengal also recorded above normal temperatures. However, the IMD stated that post 27 April, the heat wave will reduce significantly.
IMD warns of scorching heat in summer
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) released their first-ever summer forecast, warning the country of higher-than-normal temperatures in the summer of 2016. The soaring temperatures, according to the IMD's prediction, will affect the core heat wave (HW) zones the most. The IMD will also issue periodic "heatwave alerts and warnings" through their website for the entirety of summer i.e. from April to June.
The core heat wave zones
The core heat wave (HW) zone covers the states of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradhesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Telangana, meteorological subdivisions of Madhya Maharashtra and coastal Andhra Pradesh.
Reasons behind the IMD's first-ever summer forecast
India faced extreme temperatures in the summer of 2015. As many as 2,500 deaths were reported in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana due to the conditions, prompting the IMD to come up with a seasonal forecast for 2016. The IMD said that the idea was "to forewarn people about the impact of heat wave conditions on certain days so that they can take adequate precautions".
The IMD's plan of periodic forecasts
A forecast for 15 days consisting of the probability of the occurence of hot days, heat waves, and severe heat waves will be released by the IMD from April 1. The forecasts will be updated every 5 days. Local authorities have been urged to open cooling centres, build public awareness of heat-related health risks, and train medical and community workers to respond to emergencies.
2016 temperatures so far
2016 got off to a warm start with temperatures in January and February being significantly higher from the 1960-61 average. January saw a 1.53 degree C increase from the 1960-61 average, while February saw a 2 degree C increase.
Expected minimum, maximum and mean temperatures
There is a 76% chance of maximum temperatures in the core heat wave zones to be >1 degree C than normal in the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, the season averaged maximum, minimum and mean temperatures of sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim, Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Assam are expected to be <0.5 degrees C above normal. The predictions are based on an ocean-atmosphere climate model.
IMD to provide heat index every 3 hours
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) revealed that from April onwards the heat index (HI) will be available on the IMD website and updated every 3 hours. The heat index would have warning colour codes that would signify respective health warnings. The green code would mean 'comfortable', yellow for 'uncomfortable' leading to exhaustion, orange and red 'highly uncomfortable' leading to heat stroke or sun stroke.
8 states issued heat-wave warning by IMD
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) proclaimed that atleast 8 Indian states would be facing heat-wave conditions in the coming two days. These regions are Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Marathwada, Vidarbha, Telangana, Rayalaseema and Tamil Nadu. Central and peninsular India continued experiencing the hottest April in recent years. The death toll across the country because of heat went past 130.