Brace yourself, the heat only gets worse

The sizzling heat tightened its grip on the city on Monday with the mercury level peaking to 42.2 degree Celsius, the hottest so far this year.

With the temperature soaring beyond 40 degrees for the fifth day in a row, people who ventured out during the day had to encounter heat wave-like weather conditions quite early and the blistering heat continued well into the evening. While the observatories in Nungambakkam and Meenambakkam recorded 42.2 degree Celsius and 42.4 degree Celsius, the real feel of the temperature for residents was more like 48 degree Celsius.

Officials of the meteorological department said the sea breeze, which brings in cool air and provides a solace from the searing heat, set in only around 2.30 p.m. in the city and around 4 p.m. in Meenambakkam. By then, the mercury level had peaked beyond 42 degree Celsius and took a while to drop, causing much discomfort to residents.

While weather blogger Pradeep John cited the low humidity level, which dipped to 30 per cent during the day, leading to the dry heat being felt more in interior areas, another blogger K. Srikanth said the sea breeze was unable to penetrate due to strong westerlies.

Both the meteorological department and bloggers forecast blazing days ahead with the day temperature set to hover around 42 degree Celsius for the next two days with little chances of showers.

Y.E.A. Raj, former deputy director general of meteorology, Chennai, noted that later part of the May is usually hotter due to stronger presence of westerly winds. “After 1996, there has been a sudden spike in the number of hot days, which denotes temperatures soaring beyond the 40 degree-mark. This is primarily because of urban heating and increase in vehicle population. After 1996, 12 years have experienced more than 10 hot days both in May and June. In 2003 alone, Chennai experienced 25 hot days in May and June whereas before 1996, the highest number of hot days in a year was only 11,” he said.

Chennaiites may also have to brace for warmer nights with the minimum temperature predicted to be over 31 degree Celsius.

*Monday was the hottest day so far this year:

Nungambakkam:  42.2 degree Celsius

Meenambakkam: 42.4 degree Celsius

  Average monthly temperature in May:

Nungambakkam: 38 degree Celsius

Meenambakkam: 39 degree Celsius

In 2014, the maximum temperature was 42.8 degree Celsius on May 24

Highest temperature in Chennai in May: 45 degree Celsius: May 31, 2003

No. of hot days* in May, 2014: 6

Number of hot days in May 2013-6

Number of hot days in May 2012-11

(*when temperature soars beyond 40 degree Celsius)

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 11:11:25 AM |

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