Severe heatwave breaks temperature records, claims hundreds of lives across India

Severe heatwave breaks temperature records, claims hundreds of lives across India

A red alert has been issued by Indian authorities after a severe heatwave left hundreds of people dead across the country over the last ten days. Weather officials warn the heat will continue over the coming days and could get worse.

As of Sunday, May 24, authorities confirmed death of about 290 people across the country, including capital New Delhi. 

As of early Monday, May 25, media reports mention over 500 casualties across the country. Fears are expressed for the millions of homeless people who have no shelter and proper access to water.

“The conditions continuing since Wednesday are the result of a northwesterly dry wind blowing from Rajasthan and Gujarat and a surface trough running from Odisha to Tamil Nadu along the coast of Andhra. Cloudless skies allowing penetration of the sun rays which are absorbed by the land, adding to the heat,” said YK Reddy, director in-charge, meteorological center, Hyderabad.

The southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are the hardest hit with some 230 reported casualties. Dozens more have been reported in Delhi and the eastern states of West Bengal and Odissa.

Chandrababu Naidu, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, said at least 100 people have died and there was a water shortage in several districts across the state.

Khammam, Telangana recorded 48 °C (118.4 °F) on Saturday, May 23 breaking 67 year old record of 47.2 °C (117°F) measured in 1947.

Nalgonda, Karimnagar and Nizamabad districts followed at second place with 47 °C (116.6 °F) temperature on Sunday, May 24 breaking previous records.

Situation was equally alarming in Andhra Pradesh where commercial capital Vijayawada recorded 47 °C on May 23. Guntur recorded 46 °C (114.8 °F), Nellore, Rajahmundry and Kakinada 44 °C (111.2 °F) and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh had 43 °C (109.4 °F) on Saturday, May 23, GulfNews reports.

"Weather condition was so bad that people were feeling the blistering heat from the morning itself. Roads and markets were looking deserted in all the major towns and cities of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh including Hyderabad and Vijayawada." - (GulfNews)

India's Meteorological Department (IMD) office director, BK Yadav, said the heat is attributed to an ongoing heatwave in neighboring Pakistan. "The temperature there is 50 °C [122 °F] and the heatwave is coming from there," Yadav said.

IMD warns similar condition will continue over the next several days in large swathes of northern and southern India. Even higher temperatures can be expected.

Weather warning May 25 - 29, 2015
(issued by IMD on May 25, 2015): 

May 25 (Day 1):

  • Heatwave to severe heatwave conditions would prevail at many places over Odisha, Jharkhand, Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Heat wave conditions would prevail at a few places over Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Telangana and at isolated places over Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Gangetic West Bengal.
  • Heavy rainfall would occur at isolated places over Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Thunderstorm accompanied with squall would occur at isolated places over Gengetic West Bengal.
  • Duststorm accompanied with squall would occur at isolated places over Rajasthan.

May 26 (Day 2):

  • Heatwave to severe heatwave conditions would prevail at many places over Odisha, Jharkhand and at a few places over Coastal Andhra Pradesh. Heat wave conditions would prevail at a few places over Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha and at isolated places over Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Gangetic West Bengal.
  • Heavy rainfall would occur at isolated places over Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Thunderstorm accompanied with squall would occur at isolated places over Bihar, Jharkhand, Gengetic West Bengal, interior Tamilnadu and South Interior Karnataka.

May 27 (Day 3):    

  • Heatwave to severe heatwave conditions would prevail at many places over Odisha. Heat wave conditions would prevail at a few places over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and at isolated places over Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh.
  • Thunderstorm accompanied with squall would occur at isolated places over Bihar, Jharkhand and South Interior Karnataka.

May 28 (Day 4) :    

  • Heatwave conditions would prevail at a few places over Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.
  • Thunderstorm accompanied with squall would occur at isolated places over Bihar, Jharkhand, Gengetic West Bengal and interior Tamilnadu.
  • Duststorm/thunderstorm would occur at isolated places over Rajasthan, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi.
  • Heavy rainfall would occur at isolated places over South Interior Karnataka.

May 29 (Day 5) :

  • Heatwave conditions would prevail at a few places over Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.
  • Thunderstorm accompanied with squall would occur at isolated places over Bihar.
  • Dust/thunderstorm accompanied with squall would occur at isolated places over Rajasthan, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi.

Featured image: SkymetWeather via Twitter (@SkymetWeather)

Comments

Greg 4 years ago

They fail to mention that very similar or higher temperatures were reported during the Indian heat waves of 1926 and 1956. 50.6°C was the high in 1956.
More people will probaly be affected only because the population density is greater now.

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