Jamshedpur, April 27: Forty is the new cool in Jharkhand’s weather lexicon as maximum temperatures leaped over 43░C on Sunday, making it the hottest April day in half a decade.
Steel city Jamshedpur topped the Celsius chart with a day reading of 43.2░C, three notches above normal and a degree’s hop in 24 hours. Its altitude advantage notwithstanding, capital Ranchi simmered at 39░C, once again three degrees above normal.
Day temperatures also touched the new oppressive mark of 43░C at many places including Seraikela and Chaibasa in West Singhbhum, Deoghar and Chatra. Heat-cursed Daltonganj and coal capital Dhanbad fell short at 42.6░C and 42.8░C, but maximum temperature rose by one degree in both places in the past 24 hours. Bokaro, Hazaribagh, Simdega and Giridih were hot at 41░C.
Statistics revealed that never before in the past five years did the temperature touch 43░C in Jamshedpur. Last year, April 30 was the hottest day at 42.6░C (see chart). Similarly, Ranchi too never climbed to 39░C. On April 29 last year, the capital was cooler at 37.8░C.
Weathermen pointed out that May — considered the peak summer month — is still four days away, but the mercury has scored a hat-trick of 40-plus at many places owing to the dominating westerly winds. Worse, there will be no respite for another three days with both Patna and Ranchi Met centres forecasting dry weather with no possibility of Nor’westers or cyclonic circulations that bring rain.
“The dry westerlies are allowing solar rays to directly penetrate the lower level of the atmosphere, leading to the rise in maximum temperatures. The trend won’t stop until there is a change in wind pattern,” explained R.K. Giri, the officiating director of Patna Meteorological Centre.
He confirmed that a heat wave alert had not been sounded because the mercury rise needed to be monitored for five consecutive days before the same.
Low relative humidity — between 16 per cent and 24 per cent — has compounded woes for residents. “We are not hopeful of a Nor’wester until next week. The moisture content in the atmosphere is very low. Our readings suggest that the moist easterly winds will blow only after 72 hours. However, they are unlikely to load enough moisture for a Nor’wester,” said a duty officer at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore, Calcutta.
Jamshedpur streets wore a deserted look on Sunday afternoon, while IPL ticket counters in Ranchi waited in vain for cricket buffs. Residents elsewhere avoided a day out.
“The dry heat is simply unbearable. Though it was a Sunday, we did not go for shopping as usual. We stayed put at home the whole day. Hope it rains soon,” said S.K. Banerjee, a resident of Kagalnagar in Sonari.