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All you ever wanted to know about heatwave condition

March 8, 2019 5:45 PM |


Spring hasn't even set in and the Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra are seen making headlines daily for observing heatwave. But what is this heatwave? Here's all what you need to know-

Heatwave is the condition of abnormally high temperatures for days together, which normally extends for 3 or more days. Heatwave conditions are more synonymous with pre-monsoon season which extends from March to June. Also, some prolonged dry spell in Monsoon can lead to Heatwave in pockets.

There are many definitions to Heatwave-

When the temperatures are above the normal mark by 5 to 6 degree Celsius and reaches 40°C or more in Plains. Also, when temperatures exceed by about 7°C it is considered a severe heatwave. In case, the normal temperatures are more than 40°C then a rise of 4 to 5°C leads to heatwave. A 6-degree rise is a Severe heatwave.

Also, heatwave is considered to commence whenever the temperatures reach 45°C or more.

For coastal and hilly stations however, the threshold is 30°C. Anything beyond this is heatwave.

Geographical location and nature of the terrain plays a significant role in heatwave conditions. India being a tropical country is more prone to heatwaves. Proximity to water bodies and coasts increase the susceptibility to these conditions as moisture level and humidity have a mitigating effect. Also, if the terrain is rocky, arid or semi-arid such conditions are a common sight. The entire country is heatwave-prone. However, some areas are more vulnerable than others including Rajasthan, Gujarat, Marathwada, Vidarbha, Odisha, Telangana, North Interior Karnataka and Rayalaseema

Northern parts of the country are spared from such weather in the month of March. Southern parts however observe heatwave during first half of March with Maharashtra, Telangana and Odisha observing heatwave during the second half of the month.

Extreme heatwaves usually spare Northeast India because of heterogeneous nature of the terrain and temperatures rarely reach the 40 degree mark.

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