Expect normal summer, but more heatwaves likely in northwest India: IMD

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday said normal or below normal heat conditions and lesser heatwaves are likely during the upcoming summer season over large geographical areas covering the southern peninsula, central India, the northern plains, east and northeast India.

In its March-May summer season temperature outlook released Tuesday, the IMD said that above normal maximum temperatures would prevail over Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and adjoining northern Maharashtra, and west Madhya Pradesh along with some pockets of east Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland during March, April and May.

Whereas, normal or below normal maximum temperatures have been forecast over Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, it added.

“The probability of heatwaves over west-central and northwest India will be higher during summer,” said IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, whereas the heatwaves will be comparatively lesser along the Indo-Gangetic plains.

Similarly, warm nights have been forecast over east and northeast, northwest and western India during the next three months whereas cooler nights would prevail over southern India till May, he said.

IMD Normal or below normal maximum temperatures are likely over areas shaded in green and blue (Source : IMD)

At present, moderate La Nina conditions prevail along the equatorial Pacific Ocean and it is expected to continue till May before turning El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral thereafter. El Nino and La Nina are the abnormal warming and cooling of the sea surface temperatures observed along the equatorial Pacific Ocean. These ocean phenomena can influence global temperatures and rainfall.

“Climatologically, during La Nina years, the intensity and frequency of heatwaves are lesser. But La Nina is not the only factor causing heatwaves,” clarified Mohapatra.

Summer in India officially commences in March and can go up to mid-June or till the time the monsoon rainfall reaches north and northwest India regions.

The Met department has said that during the seasonal transition in March, hot conditions would prevail over south Odisha and Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. “These areas conventionally experience a warm March and it will be realised this year, too,” the IMD chief said.

Warm nights will make March a significantly hot month over Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and coastal Maharashtra. India does not receive much rainfall during March and the overall rainfall over the country is expected to be normal this month, IMD officials said.

Due to the existing low-pressure system over southeast Bay of Bengal, the IMD has warned of heavy to very heavy rain (64 mm to 204 mm in 24 hours) on March 3 and 4 over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and neighbouring areas.

On the untimely development of the low-pressure area in February, Mohapatra said, “Usually there are no low-pressure systems that form in January and February. It may be rare, but not unusual, and this system was predicted.”

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