IMD predicting the higher frequency of heatwaves across the nation


New Delhi: India is bracing for an intense summer, with the Meteorological Department (MeT) predicting a higher frequency of heatwaves across the nation. The upcoming Lok Sabha elections are expected to increase public exposure to extreme temperatures, prompting the issuance of advisories to all states and union territories.

Heatwave Projections
Dr. M Mohapatra, the Director-General of Meteorology at the IMD, announced on Monday that the country should prepare for an above-average number of heatwave days until June. The forecast indicates 10 to 20 heatwave days, significantly higher than the usual four to eight days. The peak is expected in May and June, with central and southern India likely to experience the highest day and night temperatures.

Impact on Health and Sectors
Heatwaves in India have a history of causing widespread impact, including increased hospitalizations and adverse effects on agriculture and the power sector.

Regions at Risk
The IMD’s forecast highlights the western states and the southern peninsula as the most vulnerable regions this summer. Gujarat, Madhya Maharashtra, and North Karnataka are particularly at risk, with the situation potentially exacerbated by lower-than-normal rainfall. Urban heat island effects may further intensify the heat stress in cities.

El Niño Influence
2024 is marked as an El Niño year, which typically raises temperatures. However, the IMD anticipates a transition to neutral conditions by June, which could coincide with the onset of the southwest monsoon.

Relief and Rainfall Outlook
Northwest India might experience some relief in April, with expected normal to above-normal rainfall due to active western disturbances. Conversely, the southern states are likely to face low rainfall, contributing to the heat stress.

Agricultural Considerations
The IMD has not issued heatwave warnings for wheat-producing states, except Madhya Pradesh, and does not foresee any negative impact on the rabi crop harvest.


Preventive Measures and Advisories
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is actively coordinating with states to ensure adherence to heatwave advisories. Member-Secretary Kamal Kishore emphasized the importance of regular meetings and confirmed that all heatwave-prone states and UTs have updated their action plans.

With the comprehensive heatwave action plans in place, India aims to mitigate the risks associated with the predicted heatwaves and safeguard public health during the critical election period.