Heatwave Alert: North-West and East India Braces for Five-Day Scorching Spell

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While waiting for the arrival of the southwest monsoon, northwest and east India are preparing for continuous heat waves. The scorching heat is showing no signs of abating, with temperatures reaching 46 degrees Celsius in many areas. According to the Meteorological Department, this scorching heat is going to continue for at least the next five days, during which the temperature is expected to rise by two to three degrees.

Affected areas:

India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned:

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday issued a stern warning, predicting severe heat waves in northwest and east India in the coming five days. States including Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha and parts of Gangetic West Bengal are set to bear the brunt of this meteorological anomaly.

Current conditions:

Record high temperatures:

In the last 24 hours, the affected areas have witnessed scorching heat conditions, with the mercury soaring between 42 and 45 degrees Celsius. This jump in temperature by two to four degrees above the normal range makes the already severe conditions even worse. The persistent heat not only takes a toll on people but also creates a favourable environment for the spread of various diseases, with the number of heat wave deaths constantly rising.

Underlying factors:

Effect of El Nino:

Experts attribute this scorching heat to a phenomenon called El Nino. Causing excessive warming of surface waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean and increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the lower atmospheric layers, El Nino leads to drought-like conditions across India. The agriculture sector, which is heavily dependent on rainfall, is bearing the brunt of the El Niño fury, adding to the losses in an already precarious agricultural scenario… Regional alerts and events:

Orange alert for rain in Maharashtra:

In Maharashtra, the weather department has issued an orange alert for heavy rains in Mumbai, Thane, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Latur and Nanded districts in the next 24 hours. With more than 64.5 to 115.5 mm of rain expected, this alert underlines the imminent threat of flooding and related hazards in these areas.

Orange alert for heat wave in national capital:

Meanwhile, in the national capital Delhi, the weather department has issued an orange alert for heatwave conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to exceed 45 degrees Celsius, accompanied by strong winds and dust storms, so residents are urged to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to mitigate the effects of the scorching heat.

Recent events:

Flash floods in Sikkim:

Two people lost their lives and a woman was seriously injured in flash floods in Majhua village in Sikkim’s Namchi district. The disastrous incident was caused by torrential rains that have been lashing the region for the past few days, highlighting the communities’ vulnerability to the vagaries of nature.

Monsoon prospects:
Arrival of Southwest Monsoon:

Amid these adversities, the imminent arrival of the southwest monsoon brings a ray of hope. Expected to reach Gujarat by June 12, the arrival of the monsoon brings with it the promise of relief from the scorching heat. Anticipating its arrival, parts of south Gujarat may witness thunderstorms within the next 48 hours, a ray of hope amid the scorching heat.

Water and power crisis:
Deepening water and power crisis:

However, the scorching heat has exacerbated pre-existing challenges, as the state and the Union Territory grapple with acute water shortage and power cuts. A power crisis has loomed as water levels in 150 major reservoirs across the country have fallen to just 22% of their storage capacity. The rising demand for power is being fuelled by the continued operation of cooling equipment, putting even more pressure on an already overburdened power grid.

Conclusion:
As heat waves continue to ravage northwest and east India, aggravated by factors such as El Niño, regional alerts and environmental events, the imminent arrival of the southwest monsoon offers a ray of hope amid this adversity. However, the challenges posed by water scarcity and power outages underscore the urgent need for sustainable solutions to mitigate the impact of climate-induced crises on vulnerable communities.

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