As temperatures soar, travel becomes a hassle, parents keep children indoors; chances of rain slim
School is almost out and vacation, just around the corner. It’s that time of the year when children want to play outdoors all day long, revelling in the freedom that comes with summer.
But with the searing heat that has hit the city barely a few days into April, stepping outdoors, much less playing has become painful.
City residents have begun to feel the heat — of a sultry kind — right from the early hours of the day.
Travelling on the roads even as early as 8 a.m. is now tiring due to the unrelenting heat. Several parents are concerned about letting their children play outdoors during the day, once schools wind up. “Usually, it only gets hot in the morning by the end of April. This year, it already feels like we are in the middle of May. I am planning to allow my children to play only indoor games this summer,” said Radha Sundaram, a resident of Kilpauk.
On Tuesday, Nungambakkam and Meenambakkam registered temperatures of 34 degree Celsius and 35.1 degree Celsius, which is close to normal. However, those who were out in the sun would have felt at least five degrees more of the heat.
Officials of the Meteorological department said that this was because the day temperature is recorded in shade, as per meteorological standards. But people who travel through the city would have felt hotter, as they come directly under the sun.
On April 5, the temperature soared to 37 degree Celsius in Nungambakkam and 38 degree Celsius in Meenambakkam. The day temperature has hovered over two degrees above normal on most days. Officials attribute clear skies and a swift changeover from the easterlies, the prevailing wind, to westerlies that bring in hot air, for the sudden rise in mercury levels.
The westerly winds are only expected to blow in around April 20-25. But since this phenomenon begins with a somewhat sporadic weather pattern, the city is experiencing its current bout of high temperature levels early on, officials said.
Cities and towns in interior parts of the State are experiencing even more scorching conditions than those in coastal areas, they added.
Last year, the city recorded its highest day temperature of 35.6 degree Celsius on April 18. “We even had the mercury level crossing the 40-degree mark on April 30, 2006. However, it is a rare phenomenon,” said Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general of meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai.
Chances of showers this month are also slim. In the past four decades, rains have only been received in 21 years in April. The department has forecast that Chennai will experience a day temperature of 35 degree Celsius till Thursday.