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Agonising wait for elusive rain
People prefer to stay indoors

Bhubaneswar, April 27: In spite of a trough line hovering over Odisha giving hope to the people, rain and thunderstorm still remains elusive.

The day temperature remains above 42°C at many places making life tough for people.

Bhubaneswar has been reeling from extreme heat over the past few days. It was the worst on April 24 when the temperature touched 42.8°C. The maximum day temperature in the city today was 40.7°C and many people stayed indoors till the sun set and the weather cooled down.

Sixteen places in the state today witnessed temperatures above 40°C. The central and western parts of the state witnessed temperatures above 41 degrees with Talcher topping the chart at 43.6. Titilagarh was a close second at 43.5. Roads in many parts of the state bore deserted looks today after 11am and the situation remained the same till 4pm.

Government officials said there have been two confirmed sunstroke deaths in the state and nine suspected deaths due to the same reason.

The regional meteorological centre here announced that the heat wave like condition would prevail for 48 hours more. However they have also forecast chances of rain and thunder squall at many places, particularly in coastal Odisha, in the coming days and this may help bring the temperature down.

Director of the Met centre in Bhubaneswar Sarat Sahu said the rise in day temperature in the state was due to the clear sky over the state and the lack of occasional rainfall that usually occurs in April. “Besides, the northeast warm dry air in the upper layer of the atmosphere also is responsible for raising the day temperature,” said Sahu.

The Met officials also said rapid urbanisation was another reason for the high temperature in places such as Bhubaneswar. When the temperature rises, the roads and buildings get heated and reflect the heat back to the atmosphere, which in turn pushes the temperature up. Besides, gases released by vehicles and industries also push the temperature up in Bhubaneswar. The lack of difference in air pressure over land and sea was also another reason why there is hardly any wind blowing in the coastal areas.

Met officials said the heat wave condition had been prevailing due to high temperature and relative humidity, which is fluctuating between 45 and 75 per cent during the day. Relative Humidity is the index of moisture content in the air. The discomfort index, which is calculated taking the maximum temperature and the minimum relative humidity, remains over 55. Discomfort index above 54 is extremely dangerous and causes heat stroke.

Sahu said that though moisture in the air during the day remains low, it rises at night creating uneasiness till late evening. The Met officials said that the trough line formed over northeast India, Bangladesh, the Gangetic belt, Bengal and Odisha may cause rain and thunder squall, accompanied by hail and wind with speed of up to 70kmph at several places in the state.

“With the soaring mercury it has become tough to go out. It’s better to stay inside than fall sick,” said Nirad Nayak, a resident of Mancheswar. He said that even if you stayed at home, you needed to switch on the air conditioner.