The city is in the grip of a heat wave, officially.
The Patna Met office, for the first time in the season, officially declared heat wave conditions were prevailing in the city on Sunday, as the mercury climbed to this summer’s highest 43.5°C — seven notches above normal. The weekend hot spots sported a deserted look because of the unbearable heat, fuelled by loo-like dry winds from the central India for the third consecutive day.
Worse is in store. According to the Met office, the city would continue to reel from heat wave conditions for at least five days. The temperature is expected to soar up to 44°C.
Monday is unlikely to be different in terms of high temperature and low humidity conditions. “The westerly winds are quite strong in central Bihar, including Patna, and there is no possibility of change in the wind pattern or weather system favourable for development of Nor’wester in this part of the state over the next five days. Accordingly, maximum temperature is expected to reach up to 44°C over the next few days,” said Ashish Sen, director, IMD, Patna.
Deserted streets marked the debut of the heat wave in the city. Life in general was thrown out of gear, which is otherwise vibrant in weekends. The swings at the children’s playing arena at Rajdhani Vatika, popular as Eco Park, did not find many takers.
The heat wave sent the movie buffs on the back foot too. Cinepolis — the lone multiplex in P&M Mall at Patliputra — observed sparse footfall. “Only 1,200 seats were filled in our multiplex till 4pm today (Sunday). The occupancy is normally around 3,500 till that time on Sundays. Earlier, only 672 seats were filled on Friday, which is probably one of the lowest footfall here,” said Abhishek Ranjan, unit manager, Cinepolis, Patna.
In a bid to counter the uncomfortably dry weather, several residents bought coolers and air-conditioners this weekend. “The fans are no more of any help as it just blows hot air. Thus, I bought a cooler on Saturday. Thanks to that, I sat comfortably inside my house today (Sunday),” said Alok Kumar, a resident of Digha.
A feature of this hot spell has been the lack of moisture in the air, reflected in the low relative humidity in the city and its surroundings. Sunday’s minimum relative humidity recorded at 2.30pm was 19 per cent, exactly the same recorded at the same time on Saturday.
The gradual rise in the temperature over the past few days has triggered ailments, mainly viral infections resulting in sore throat and fever. City-based physician Dr Diwakar Tejaswi said: “Extreme high temperature is not good for the human body. It can lead to hyperthermia, a situation when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. One should drink enough water throughout the day, especially before going out. As diarrhoea, dysentery, vomiting and nausea among others are quite common these days among children, they should eat only fresh food and fruits. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can also lead to conjunctivitis, sunburns and heat cramps.”