Tuesday 26 April 2016

Heatwave in India

Heatwave intensifies, Titlagarh in Odisha sizzles at record 48.5 degrees Celsius

24 April, 2016

NEW DELHI: Mercury continued to soar on Sunday in major parts of the country with Odisha's Titlagarh scorching at 48.5 degrees Celsius even as four districts in Assam were hit by the first wave of floods affecting around 45,000 people.

Titlagarh has been experiencing extreme heat for the past several days and on Sunday the town recorded its highest temperature for the month of April in the last 17 years.

"Titlagarh had crossed 50 degree Celsius mark in 2003 on June 5 when it posted 50.1 degrees Celsius. Also, for the month of April, it is the highest since 1999 when on April 30 that year the place had registered 48.1 degrees Celsius," director of meteorological centre in Bhubaneswar Sarat Sahu said.

The Odisha government has confirmed four deaths due to sun stroke; however, reports said the death toll in the state due to heatwave has risen to 88.

Bihar too continued to sizzle under intense heatwave even though mercury dipped marginally at several places.

The state's capital Patna remained the hottest place in the state for the second day on Sunday with maximum temperature at 41.1 degrees Celsius against 43.3 degrees C on Saturday, while Gaya recorded the highest day temperature at 41.1 degrees C.

Steel city Jamshedpur in Jharkhand also scorched at 45.8 degrees Celsius.

In national capital Delhi, however, the mercury remained below 40 degree Celsius mark. The maximum temperature settled at 37.3 degrees Celsius, a notch below the normal, while the humidity level in the air remained on the lower side, oscillating between 13 per cent and 56 per cent.

In West Bengal, Bankura district touched the highest at 43.8 degrees Celsius while Kolkata recorded an above normal 40.2 degrees Celsius, even as the MeT department forecast heatwave to continue for at least another four days.

In districts of Gangetic West Bengal, the mercury hovered slightly above the 40 degree Celsius mark, they said.

Burdwan, Asansol and Sriniketan recorded 41.5, 41.6 and 41.7 degrees Celsius, respectively today.

In south India, Chennai, Hyderabad and several other cities recorded temperature above 40 degrees Celsius.

Hisar in Haryana recorded a high of 39.4 degrees Celsius. Chandigarh braved hot weather at 35.3 degrees Celsius.

In Punjab, Amritsar recorded a high of 35.8 degrees Celsius while Ludhiana and Patiala recorded maximum of 36.5 degrees Celsius and 36.6 degrees Celsius respectively.

As Assam battled with the elements, State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) there said, so far over 1,018 hectares of crop area has been inundated by flood water, while Burhidihing and Desang Naglamuraga rivers were flowing above the danger mark in Sivasagar.

Death toll rises as Indian heat wave with temperatures now pushing 50C (122F) with high humidity

  • It could be the deadliest heatwave in world history. 
  • It's still only April...With the hottest months to come!
  • Hottest April temperatures ever recorded and the mercury is still rising!

Photo indianexpress.com

24 April, 2016

With temperatures now pushing 50C (122F) with high humidity and the death toll rising rapidly, the heat wave in parts of India has now reached heat levels a human body cannot function and  begins to break down.
Heat-related illnesses at these temperatures include:
  • Heat exhaustion 
  • Heatstroke 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Heat swelling 
  • Fainting 
  • Death
The desperate wails rend the still evening air that is suffocatingly warm, even at sunset.

A crush of people has gathered around the body of Katamaiah, laid on the ground in front of his hut; his wife is weeping.

A farm labourer working for the daily wage of Rs 200 in Sulthanpet village in Andhra Pradesh's Ananthapuram district, Katamaiah had left for work at 7 in the morning, as was his habit.

A few hours later, the 55-year-old with no pre-existing medical condition collapsed on the field and died while being taken to the nearest hospital in the district capital. Neighbours say he was a victim of the relentless heat the region has been captive to.

A few kilometres away, in Narasapuram village, are the widows of two others felled by the heat, part of the official list of 37 heatstroke deaths reported in Ananthapuram so far.

Karupuramu Gopal and his wife sold plastic pots and other trinkets to make ends meet, earning between Rs 200 and Rs 300 a day.

On returning from work in the afternoon, 10 days ago, Gopal began complaining of discomfort and vomited.

Though he was taken to a private clinic where he was given a saline drip, he did not make it.

"He asked for some water around 11 at night, took a long breath and passed away," says his wife, Devi.

At the home of Venkataiah, his wife is too exhausted and grief-stricken to talk.
His nephew, Goutham Naidu, says the farmer had spent his last three days at a religious festival, leaving in the morning and returning only at sunset.
The night before he passed away, he had felt listless and vomited.

His nephew was taking him to a hospital the next day, when he died.

Three weeks into April and Ananthapuram is burning under an intolerable heat wave with daily temperatures touching 44 degrees Celsius, making it one of the hottest places in the country, according to private weather forecaster Skymet.
Step out around 11 am and you feel you are being physically assaulted by the heat, a steady stream of scorching blows raining all over your body.

While it is unsurprising that people are collapsing in this heat, the tragedy lies in the fact that if adequate precautions are taken, heatstroke deaths like Gopal's and Venkataiah's are preventable, according to experts, unlike in other natural calamities such as earthquakes and floods.

The state government says it has launched a campaign to spread awareness on the heat wave, has set up over 8,000 outlets providing free drinking water, known as "chalivendram" in Telugu, and distributed over 7 lakh oral rehydration solution (ORS) packets.
Take me home
Killer mega-storm with Ice clumps the size of baseballs destroy houses and cars in north Texas

The Big Wobble came up with this headline today. Too bad it apples to something that happened a year ago.  It has been reposted several times.

Very sloppy!

India scrambles to get water to 330 million people

India is scrambling to get water to drought-hit parts of the country as a sweltering heatwave adds to the misery.

25 April, 2016
Some 330 million people in 256 of the nation's 664 districts have been affected, the government told the Supreme Court last week. So far, 10 of India's 29 states have declared themselves in a state of drought, after two years of below-average monsoon rains.
Water trains are running daily to deliver water to parts of Maharashtra, while Odisha state has extended summer vacations for schools and deployed more than 1,000 tankers to supply water.
In the southern state of Telangana, the government has promised to continue supplying drinking water to affected households until the monsoon rains in June.
"The drinking water supply is the biggest concern... because there is no rain, the water table has come down, and we are losing tube wells," said Mr Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, the special relief commissioner for Odisha, where temperatures shot past 45 deg C this month.
"We haven't had any rains for seven months, which is unusual for Orissa, which is a coastal state."
In many areas, the drought has been aggravated by soaring temperatures, even before the peak summer months arrive, leaving more than 100 people dead and triggering concerns that already-low reservoir waters will be depleted further.
According to Central Water Commission data released last week, storage levels in India's 91 reservoirs, which also provide water for hydro-power, have dipped to 22 per cent of total capacity, down from 27 per cent last month.
The water crisis has intensified this year because of two poor monsoons in a row. The monsoons usually move from south to north and then east, slowly covering the country before withdrawing in September. The rains recharge water bodies and groundwater.
The poor monsoons have been attributed partly to the El Nino effect, which involves the warming of Pacific waters and has always affected the rains in India.
The India Meteorological Department in its monsoon update for this year predicted above-average rainfall. Even so, some experts believe it will take time for water tables to be recharged.
Ms Parineeta Dandekar, an associate coordinator of the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, said the lowest water levels are expected at Marathwada in Maharashtra state. And the situation is expected to extend to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka states, which are all strongly dependent on groundwater, she said.
"The groundwater crisis is not going to stop even if we have good monsoons," she said.
Sugar cane production in Maharashtra is expected to drop. Meanwhile, in the south of the country, there are concerns that cultivation of rice and cotton could be affected as well if the upcoming monsoon rains are poor.
Reports in the Indian media said small farmers in southern Telangana were migrating elsewhere in search of employment.
The governments in at least two states - Rajasthan and Maharashtra - are facing flak for hosting cricket matches as part of next month's Indian Premier League.
Public anger has also been directed at politicians amid questions over India's handling of its water resources.
Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti was criticised for saying it was "pointless to plan in advance" for drought.
The crisis, farmers have warned, could affect the country's agriculture economy.
"This is going to lead to utter chaos on the agriculture front. In India, 86 per cent of farmers are small and marginal. And unfortunately we are not trained in water management," said Mr P. Chengal Reddy, the secretary-general of the Consortium of Indian Farmers Association. "Many farmers are now suffering from (lack of) drinking water - forget agriculture."
Still, in one area in Maharashtra hit badly by drought, people have gained some respite.
Officials in Latur district said that, with millions of litres of water being brought in by train, the water shortage had been mitigated.
"The crisis has eased with the train. The water will continue to come by train till the monsoons," said Mr Pandurang Pole, the district administration's top official. "Even so, we are telling people to use water wisely."

Heat wave sweeping Southeast Asia hits Myanmar

"Trying to cool down in Myanmar during the water festival - Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima
Trying to cool down in Myanmar during the water festival - Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima

22 April, 2016

What is most likely to be the most intense heat wave ever observed in Southeast Asia has been ongoing for the past several weeks, according to report on the weather underground website on 19 April.

All-time national heat records have been observed in Cambodia, Laos, and (almost) in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam. 

Recent weather data from Myanmar has been sketchy at best, according to the report, although at least one city, Dawei, has broken its all-time heat record with a 39.0°C (102.2°F) reading. There have been several 46.0°C (114.8°F) reports but it is not known at this time if these were the actual daily maximums. The all-time heat record for Myanmar is 47.2°C (117.0°F) at Myinmu on May 14, 2010 (the beginning of one of Asia’s greatest heat waves). 

All in all, the on-going heat wave is easily the most intense to affect Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia since at least 1960, the report said.

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