Temperature hits a record high after moonsoon failure last year

Summer is off to an early and blistering start this year, with the city already recording day time temperature three degrees above normal.

Accentuated by the continuing dry spell after the monsoon failure last year and the 10 to 12-hour power cuts, the summer has the city residents reeling. The soaring mercury holds out the threat of a long summer ahead of the next three months.

The mercury has been climbing steadily over the past few days with the daytime temperature touching 40 degree Celsius on Friday, three degrees above normal, making for scorching days and sultry nights. The minimum temperature was 27 degree Celsius, two degrees above normal. The daytime temperature in some neighbouring districts such as Karur, Perambalur, Ariyalur, and Pudukottai districts has been rising over the past week.

The Meteorological Department website forecast for the next three days says the maximum temperature will be between 40 and 41 degree Celsius. This could make the month one of the hottest for the city in recent years after 2004 when the temperature soared to 42.3 degree Celsius. This is also the second consecutive year when the temperature has crossed 40 degree Celsius in April. Last year, the hottest days were April 18 and 19 when the city recorded 40.8 degrees Celsius.

The normal average temperature in Tiruchi during April is 36.9 C and 37.4 C in May and 36.7 C in June, though the mercury often crosses the 40 C mark in the region at the height of summer in May. According to the website, the all-time record of extreme weather in Tiruchi during April was 42.8 degree Celsius recorded on April 19, 1896. On April 18, 2004, the city had registered 42.3 degree Celsius. On April 21, 2010, the temperature in the city had touched 40.4 degree Celsius.

The above normal weather is expected to continue in May unless there is some summer showers. The record for May is 43.3 degree Celsius recorded on May 2, 1896. Over the past decade, 2007 had recorded the hottest May when the temperature touched 42.2 degree Celsius on the 22nd day of the month. The mercury had crossed 41 degree Celsius during the month in 2009, 2005 and 2003 too. The maximum temperature recorded in May last year was 40.5 degrees Celsius.

As residents seek to beat the heat, tender coconut and water melon vendors, fresh juice and ice-cream parlours are doing brisk business. Scores of residents flock the Cauvery riverbed to get some fresh air in the evenings.

Keeping with the general price rise, the price of tender coconuts has shot up by Rs.10 a nut this year. Good sized tender coconuts are sold at Rs. 30 across the city. Some of the vendors said tender coconut arrivals from the local groves has been poor, possibly due to the drought like conditions prevailing over the past few months. Many traders procure the coconuts from Pollachi. But the rise in the price has made some of the vendors vary of the demand.

“Arrivals have not picked up yet. At the same time, I am not sure of the sales as the rise in price may put off customers. But I have no option but to sell the nuts at Rs. 30 apiece after taking into consideration transportation and other costs,” says Rani, a vendor. Slices of water melon offer a cheaper option for the harried residents, who are fervently hoping for some summer showers.