IMD issues 4th heatwave alert in Konkan region, other Maharashtra districts

‘Along with heat wave warnings, there is a need to issue clear directives to citizens... to avoid going out during the afternoon hours,’ said a government official

May 14, 2023 02:09 pm | Updated 03:43 pm IST - Mumbai

Image for representational purpose only.

Image for representational purpose only. | Photo Credit: Biswaranjan Rout

Heatwave conditions have been declared by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in various regions of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, Palghar, Thane, Konkan, central Maharashtra, and Vidarbha. This is the fourth heatwave alert for the Konkan region and the first for the month of May, according to the IMD.

The State is currently experiencing high temperatures, with the mercury soaring above normal levels, posing significant risks to public health and well-being. Authorities and individuals are advised to take immediate preventive measures and follow necessary guidelines to mitigate the impact of the heatwave and ensure the safety of residents in these affected areas.

Several areas in central Maharashtra, Marathwada and Vidarbha have been reeling under above-normal temperatures for the past three weeks. On May 12, in areas of the Central Maharashtra region, the maximum temperature in Jalgaon was 44.9° Celsius, and in Jeur it was 43° Celsius. In Akola, Vidarbha region, the maximum temperature was 44.5° Celsius; in Parbhani in the Marathwada region, the maximum temperature was 43.6° Celsius. Mumbai recorded 35.2° Celsius.

Lubaina Rangwala, Associate Director, World Resources Institute (WRI) India, said, “This year’s summer has been brutal, and each year it is getting progressively worse. Last April, Mumbai saw temperatures higher than 35° Celsius with relative humidity upwards of 80% in some areas.

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“What this means is that the city was exposed to a heat index (or wet bulb temperature) upwards of 50° Celsius. In coastal cities, temperatures higher than 35° Celsius are dangerous because they surpass a body’s ability to cool off after exposure and result in severe illnesses and fatalities. In this scenario, across the country, it is a national emergency that cities and districts prepare heat action plans that are well monitored and tailored to the needs of those most vulnerable,” she said.

“Along with heat wave warnings, there is a need to issue clear directives to citizens at the city and district levels to avoid going out during the afternoon hours (11.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.) during the warning period, particularly for senior citizens and children wherever possible, stay hydrated, avoid dehydration, and take other basic precautionary measures,” said Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Former Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.

“In terms of long-term strategy, there is a need to review district-level heat action plans based on dynamic climatic scenarios, scale and improve them to encompass the potential impact, and guarantee there is a strategy in place to combat these rising heat waves and their frequency.”

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