Sakshi Post Explainer: Why India Continues to Sizzle Even Before May?

 - Sakshi Post

Most parts of India are reeling under severe heat wave for a few days. Since the onset of summer season in March this year, the maximum temperatures in northwestern parts of India remained between 40 to 45 degree Celsius. Compared to March, the month April witnessed severe heat waves in the West parts of Rajasthan and Vidarbha in Maharashtra. 

As per reports the country has experienced at least 26 heat waves since the beginning of March. The last two heat waves are still on. 

Heat Wave Spells Since March

  • The first heat wave, which affected Kutch-Saurashtra, northern Konkan and Madhya Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu, West Madhya Pradesh, West Uttar Pradesh and interior Odisha, lasted from March 11 to 19. 
  • On March 27, the country saw a second heat wave which eased off only on April 12. It hit all the regions that were affected by the first heatwave, and also spanned Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rayalaseema and East Madhya Pradesh, covering a very large patch of the country's north, west, and centre.
  • Two heat waves later, the country witnessed a lull in the rising temperatures. Again on April 17, the third heatwave hit Delhi, Rajasthan, East Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Vidarbha.Thankfully, it abated in just three days.
  • Currently, Kutch-Saurashtra and Rajasthan regions are under severe heatwave. This fourth heatwave spell started on April 24 is likely to spread in the coming days to Delhi, Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gangetic West Bengal, interior Odisha, Chhattisgarh, northern Gujarat, and Vidarbha.

What is a Heat Wave?

Any region needs to fulfill certain conditions for the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to declare a heatwave for a region. The IMD says a region is under a heat wave only if the maximum temperature reaches at least 40 degrees Celsius in the plains, at least 37 degrees Celsius along the coast, and at least 30 degrees Celsius in hilly regions.

A severe heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature departs from normal is more than 6.4 degrees Celsius. The weather department can also declare a heat wave when an area records a maximum temperature of more than 45 degrees Celsius and up to 47 degrees Celsius on any given day.

Which places fall under the Core Heatwave Zone (CHZ)?

Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, West Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Vidarbha in Maharashtra, parts of Gangetic West Bengal, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana are prone to heat waves. Studies have shown that the CHZ experiences more than six heatwave days every year during these March to June months.

Why is 2022 so hot?

In recent times, 2022 has seen one of the longest heat wave spells across the country. The last time the country saw a prolonged spell of high temperatures was between May 18 and 31, 2015 which affected parts of West Bengal along with Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. There was another long spell that was recorded between June 2 and June 11, 2014.

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Part of the reason why March and April are hot months is, the summer season came early, the unusually prolonged heat wave spells and no squally winds and periodic thundershowers. According to the IMD, March 2022 was India’s third warmest March since 1901. 

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