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Celsius surge spurs heat wave in state

Jamshedpur, June 6: Maximum temperatures across Jharkhand witnessed a sudden spike today, prompting weathermen to declare heat wave in isolated pockets on a day the sluggish southwest monsoon tiptoed into Kerala amid projections of below normal rainfall in the Indian subcontinent.

In Met parlance, a heat wave is announced when the day Celsius leaps five degrees above normal. It did so in most parts of the state, with capital Ranchi kissing 40°C for the first time this season and summer resort Daltonganj burning at a 45.8°C high.

Steel cities Jamshedpur and Bokaro were hot at around 43°C while coal town Dhanbad was hotter at 44°C. Temple town Deoghar scored 44°C and districts like Garhwa, Latehar, Simdega and Seraikela-Kharsawan fretted at over 43°C.

Many cities across India, including national capital New Delhi, took extra cover as heat wave swept through central and northern parts of the country. Statistics reveal that day readings had hovered between 38°C and 40°C around this time last June.

Analysts at the IMD office in Ranchi attributed the abrupt mercury march to dominating westerly winds and absence of rain owing to local area development or low pressure. “Maximum temperatures have risen by two to three degrees since yesterday owing to the wind pattern,” confirmed R.K. Mahanty of Ranchi Meteorological Centre.

“Day readings in almost every district of Jharkhand are above normal. The heat wave will continue for another 48 hours,” said another weather analyst at Patna Meteorological Centre. In its afternoon forecast, the weather bureau predicted dry conditions over Jharkhand for the next three days.

Mahanty added that the trough over Jharkhand and Odisha was likely to result in showers at a few places in southern parts of the state.

Weathermen at Regional Meteorological Centre in Calcutta, however, said the trough was very weak to trigger a downpour. “The trough line is weak. It cannot bring heavy rain, but may result in formation of clouds and cause drizzle at a few places after the next 24 hours,” said a duty officer.

Meanwhile, IMD director-general L.S. Rathore announced in New Delhi that the southwest monsoon had set in over Kerala after a delay of four days. He predicted a “sluggish march” in the onset phase.

After four years of normal monsoon, the country is bracing for below normal rainfall this year. IMD officials blamed it on the El Nino effect, which is associated with warming of ocean water.