Harsh Summer With 17-25 Heatwave Days To Singe Odisha During Elections

Bhubaneswar: A harsh summer is staring Odisha in the face with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicting a longer number of heatwave days in April, May and June this year.

As against the usual 11, the state is likely to experience 17 to 25 heatwaves days from April to June.

According to IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Odisha is among the eight states that may experience the worst impact of heatwaves. Gujarat, central Maharashtra, north Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, north Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh are the other states which are likely to witness an increase in the heatwave days.

The extreme weather conditions in the upcoming two-and-a-half months coincides with the general elections in which around a billion people are expected to exercise their franchise. While Lok Sabha polls in India will take place in seven phases between April 19 and June 1, Odisha will vote in four phases on May 13, May 20, May 25 and June 1.

Mohapatra said that there will be a significant jump in the heatwave days in Odisha. It may experience heatwave days in the range of two to eight in April against the usual one to three. Above-normal maximum temperatures are likely in most parts of the state.

Though El Nino conditions, the periodic warming of waters in the central Pacific Ocean, are weakening, these will continue during April and May, the IMD chief added.

The IMD has already issued the first heatwave warning for Jajpur, Bhadrak, Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur, Kandhamal, and Cuttack districts in Odisha on April 4. Heatwave conditions may also prevail in Jajpur, Bhadrak, Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur, Kandhamal, and Cuttack, the following day.

The state is also likely to experience warmer nights from April 2-5.

On Monday, the mercury soared to 40 degree Celsius at eight places in the state with Jharsuguda and Baripada registering the highest maximum temperature of 40.4 degree Celsius each, followed by Balangir at 40.3 degree Celsius and Boudh, Nayagarh, Bhawanipatna, Talcher and Titlagarh at 40 degree Celsius each. The twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack recorded maximum temperature of 39.4 degree Celsius each.

The IMD has asked the authorities to take proactive measures as prolonged periods of extreme heat can lead to strain on infrastructure such as power grids and transportation systems. The elevated temperature during heatwave may also pose significant risks, especially for vulnerable populations like the elderly, children, and those with pre-existing health conditions, who are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Additionally, prolonged periods of extreme heat can lead to dehydration, and strain infrastructure such as power grids and transportation systems, the national forecaster said in its seasonal outlook for hot weather season.

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