Peak summer is still a fortnight away. But, the scorching heat on us makes it seem like we are well into April. This March has been warmer compared to the previous five years and the next few days would also be relatively hot, according to the meteorological department.

Officials said they cannot predict the weather for a long period. But, the maximum temperature may shoot up to 35 degree Celsius, two degrees above the temperature recorded this time every year, in the next three days.

The early days of April have provided some solace to residents who were reeling under the heat with maximum temperature remaining close to normal. But, officials said the situation may alter anytime in summer. The onset of sea breeze was crucial as it moderated the temperature from rising further. Last year, the mercury level had shot up to 37.7 degree Celsius on April 11.

“I start an hour earlier to office as it gets hot as early as 9 a.m. Driving in city traffic in scorching heat makes it all the more difficult,” said R.Akash, a resident of Choolaimedu.

The mercury level had soared beyond three degrees above average temperature of 33 degree Celsius in Nungambakkam on three days in March. Residents of Meenambakkam and surrounding areas have tough time as the weather was hotter there. The observatory recorded 13 hot days with the maximum temperature peaking to 37 degree Celsius on some days.

Officials said Nungambakkam recorded the highest temperature of 36.3 degree Celsius on March 21 and Meenambakkam registered 37.4 degree Celsius on March 22.

The monthly average temperature level in both the localities was more than two degrees this March compared to the previous five years. Usually, easterly wind is experienced during this time of the year. But, westerly wind that brings in hot air during mid-April prevailed in early March.

Meenambakkam bore the brunt of heat as the mercury level soared by the time sea breeze came in. It takes 60-80 minutes for sea breeze to be felt in Meenambakkam, which is away from the coast, an official said.

Come summer, water tops the priority list of many households. Chennai Metrowater's officials hope to overcome the water demand this summer with available resources. The reservoirs that supply largely for Chennai's drinking water supply have storage of 6,919 million cubic feet (mcft). This would be enough to cater to the city for six more months despite water loss of nearly 20 per cent due to evaporation in peak summer.

Last year, the reservoirs had storage of 8,000 mcft that supported the city water supply for one more month. Officials said “We can manage by offsetting the gap with water from Minjur desalination plant and Veeranam tank in Cuddalore district.”

Krishna water, which usually supplements the storage during this time, is yet to be released by the Andhra Pradesh government due to some issues. A siphon in 117-km point at Varadapalayam is being repaired. “We expect that Krishna water will be released only in first week of May,” sources said.

Keywords: peak summer

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