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May mayhem after 4 years

- Elusive Nor’wester spurred heat wave, Celsius surge

Jamshedpur, June 1: Three spells of heat wave, together lasting for almost a fortnight; nearly every district fretting at 40C or above for over a week; and dry westerly winds dominating most days — these sum up May, the hottest month in Jharkhand in four years.

Weathermen blame fewer Nor’westers — the state witnessed only four in the first week of last month — for the Celsius surge since May 6.

Heat wave struck thrice between May 7 and May 26, the last spell being the lengthiest of over a week before a well-marked low-pressure trough over the Bay of Bengal and a cyclonic circulation over neighbouring Chhattisgarh resulted in widespread rainfall.

According to Met data, maximum readings touched 41C and above in most parts of the state on May 17 and remained so for over a week. The degree devil rose to the season’s highest of 45C in Bokaro on May 23. Despite its altitude advantage, capital Ranchi also touched 40C that day.

Places like Dhanbad, Deoghar, Daltonganj, Latehar and Chatra recorded 44C for three to four days between May 20 and 25.

Statistics show that similar weather had last prevailed four years ago. May 2010 too had seen four Nor’westers instead of an average of six, while the Celsius stayed above 41C on most days.

Records show that many districts, including Bokaro and Palamau (Daltonganj), had touched the fiery 45C in 2013 and the year before, but the discomfort wasn’t so telling as this May because of rain relief in quick succession.

As many as seven Nor’westers of both high and low intensities had hit the state in May 2011. The number was six each in 2012 and 2013. Last April also saw three Nor’westers. The heat wave failed to open its account in May 2011, while it prevailed for only 3-4 days in the two years that followed.

“Fewer storms led to the prolonged heat wave in Jharkhand this May. The discomfort index was high in places like Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Daltonganj compared to the last three years,” confirmed A.K. Sen, the director of Patna Meteorological Centre.

He added that while the dry westerly winds had pushed up maximum temperatures, a turnaround was seen from May 26 owing to the depression over the Bay.

The Patna Met office, in its long-range forecast on Sunday, predicted partly cloudy skies for the next 72 hours. It has also issued warning for a moderate thunderstorm with wind speed reaching 60kmph in isolated pockets after the next 24 hours.

Several parts of the state like Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Dhanbad and Godda had experienced early morning rain and storm on Saturday, courtesy a cyclonic circulation hovering over Bengal and Jharkhand. Weathermen said the atmospheric circulations had shifted towards Bangladesh in the eastern side.

On the approaching southwest monsoon, both Patna and Ranchi weather offices said conditions were becoming favourable for advance of the current in the Arabian Sea and southwest Bay.

Senior weather analyst in Patna B.N. Choudhary predicted a delayed rain date. “We are expecting arrival of monsoon in Jharkhand around June 15 (five days behind schedule). The Bay of Bengal component of southwest monsoon is more active than the Arabian Sea one.”