Palakkad sweats, but escapes with moderate discomfort

This time too, summer has been unkind to the district, one of the hottest places in Kerala. People complain of heat wave-like situation, but temperature and humidity figures have been within manageable limits.

Updated - April 28, 2023 08:02 am IST

Published - April 28, 2023 12:35 am IST - PALAKKAD

Soaking up the luxury: Enjoying an energising splash of water at a theme park at Malampuzha, near Palakkad, on a hot summer day.

Soaking up the luxury: Enjoying an energising splash of water at a theme park at Malampuzha, near Palakkad, on a hot summer day. | Photo Credit: K.K. Mustafah

This year’s April has been cruel to the State, particularly Palakkad, one of the hottest places in Kerala. The maximum temperature recorded in Palakkad this year was 41.7° C (on April 13) and the district has consistently witnessed a sweltering summer. The heat has been getting under the people’s skin since February in Palakkad.

The unique wind that Palakkad gets in summer from the arid plains of Tamil Nadu through the 30-km wide Palakkad Gap is yet to make its presence felt, though many people have started complaining about a ‘heat wave-like’ phenomenon.

“So searing is the heat this year that it feels like our skin is burning when we go out in the sun,” said Ramesh N. and Madhusudanan Kartha, president and secretary of Palakkad Press Club while setting up a drinking water kiosk outside the Press Club.

Although the temperature peaked to 41.7° C on April 13, mercury dipped by two degrees in the last two weeks, the average being 39° C. Adjoining regions of Malampuzha and Mundur are undoubtedly the hottest places in Palakkad because of the presence of giant rocks that form part of the Western Ghats that give way for the Palakkad Gap at Walayar.

Slow rise in humidity

The slow rise in humidity since March has been taking away the comfort of the people and contributing to the summer’s harshness. The humidity recorded at Mundur on Monday was 48%. Palakkad’s humidity at the beginning of the summer was considerably low because of an apparent shortage in the north-east monsoon shower popularly known as Thulavarsham.

And it took two full months for the humidity to rise from 30% to 48%. According to A.N. Sivadas, head of the Environment Laboratory at Integrated Rural Technology Centre (IRTC), Mundur, the humidity and temperature being recorded currently are nothing but abnormal. “Humidity of around 40% is comfortable. The temperature too is below 40° C now. There is nothing to worry, though people should take all possible precautions against exposure to the sun,” said Mr. Sivadas.

People have been warned against long exposure to sun between 12 noon and 3 p.m., the time when the atmospheric temperature reaches its climax. The authorities have issued warning against working in the early afternoon hours.

There was also a perceptible let-up in the forest fires, especially since March, in Palakkad, thanks to an enhanced preparedness by the Forest department.

‘Not-so-severe summer’

According to veteran physics researcher B.M. Mustafa, the summer is not as severe in Palakkad as is being projected. “Even the peak temperature of 40° C or 41° C is marked only for an hour or half an hour. The rise and fall in temperature is gradual in Kerala unlike in north India,” said Prof. Mustafa.

Waterbodies in Palakkad are not dry yet. Water distribution in tankers is yet to be resorted to. Sporadic rains are predicted in the coming weeks, and the sultriness of weather is unlikely to sharpen in the days to come.

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