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Cool surprise, heat steps back

Forests of Chhotanagpur plateau and sea do the magic

A boy makes a splash in the pool to beat the searing heat in Bhubaneswar. Picture by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar, April 10: The dense forests of Chhotanagpur plateau and sea breeze have played a cool duet to arrest the rising trend of the mercury in the city.

The cool sea breeze has come as a respite from the searing heat that the city has been experiencing for the last two weeks. While the daytime temperature is still hovering around 38°C, slightly less than the last week’s highest temperature of 40.4°C, the breeze has brought cheers to the people.

The humidity level also witnessed a significant drop. It was 55 per cent today, against 96 per cent on April 4.

“The highest temperature in March was 40.2°C, but the 40.4°C on April 8 went unnoticed, thanks to the sea breeze. Now people are enjoying the summer evening as the breeze brings the memory of my college days when the state capital did not have so many concrete structures and the city was cool and full of air,’’ said environmental expert Bijay Mishra.

Director, Meteorological Centre, Bhubaneswar, Lala Debendra Prasad Roy said: “Sea breeze is definitely a factor in bringing down the temperature in the coastal Odisha, but there is another factor which also plays a decisive role in the sudden change in the temperature. The hot air blowing from north-west India is getting a cooling effect from the forest ranges of the Chhotanagpur plateau.’’

The valleys of river Mahanadi and Subarnarekha have continuous stretches of deep forests and they play a vital role in creating a low pressure zone for which the high pressure sea breeze from coastal Odisha rushes into that direction. Nearly two weeks ago, there was negligible or no flow of sea breeze in coastal Odisha.

During March last week, the wind speed was nearly 8kmph, but today the local Met office recorded it 28 kmph. This change in wind speed brought in great respite for the people though the highest day time temperature was 39°C at 2pm. In its forecast today, the Met office has predicted rain and thundershower across the state and especially in the coastal areas of Odisha. The coastal belt may also experience a wind speed of 40-50kmph. The weather condition would continue up to 48 hours.

On Wednesday, the city experienced rain, which was recorded as ‘trace’ by the local Met observatory. On Thursday also, the city experienced dust storm during the evening hours. This had a cooling effect on the city although the highest daytime temperature was over 39°C.

The Met director also suggested that taking the lead from the effect of the dense forest ranges of the Chhotanagpur plateau, plantation activity should be taken up along the major riversides across the state in the west and east Odisha to ensure better cooling of hot air that comes in from central and north-west India to push up the mercury here. “If we can do this then more sea breeze will flow to the low pressure zone ensuring better cooling of the coastal belt,’’ he added.

With the weather cooling down and evening hours becoming pleasant, school kids are having a gala time.

“Now I go to school at 6am and return at 9am. So after taking rest in the afternoon I am eagerly waiting for the evenings to go to the playground nearby,’’ said Vicky Parida, a student of Class IX of DAV School, Pokhariput.