The Telegraph
Monday , April 7 , 2014
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Mercury up with dry wind

The maverick mercury seems to be getting harsher as the Lok Sabha elections draw near.

The singeing sun is on a relentless path in Patna, as the maximum temperature remained over 35°C on most days over the past fortnight. On Sunday, the maximum temperature in the city stood at 36.7°C.

Temperatures hitting the roof were being observed in other parts of the state as well. Gaya topped the maximum temperature chart in the state on Sunday with 39°C. Bhagalpur almost felt like Patna with the maximum temperature standing at 36°C. Purnea was tad cooler with the maximum temperature standing at 33.9 degrees Celsius.

Weather scientists attributed the ongoing northward movement of the mercury column to continuous blowing of dry winds.

“Moist easterly winds bring moisture from the Bay of Bengal in the Bihar region, which restricts abnormal rise in temperature. However, the easterly current is quite weak over Bihar at present. Besides, dry westerly winds are also blowing in the afternoon. The dry westerly winds are allowing the sun rays to directly reach the earth’s surface, leading to rise in the day (maximum) temperature,” said Ashish Sen, the director of India Meteorological Department (IMD), Patna.

He added that the maximum temperature in Patna is expected to hover around 37- 39°C over the next three to four days.

Residents should, however, not panic over the Celsius surge, as Sen has ruled out any possibility of heatwave conditions in Patna at least over the next one week.

Heatwave condition is said to persist when the actual temperature is five degrees higher than the normal temperature for more than two days at this time of the year. The normal temperature around this time is 37°C.

The hot and dry weather has been an added challenge for political leaders during campaigns. But the scorching sun has not been able to douse the enthusiasm of most of the wannabe MPs eyeing the two Lok Sabha constituencies in Patna. Clad in cool khadi and armed with water bottles and energy drinks, they are treading the hot and dusty hinterlands to mingle with the aam aadmi. (See graphic)

The bad news is there is no immediate escape in sight from the Celsius assault because the entire state is yet to get any Nor’wester — sudden thunderstorms that act as summer coolers. What is keeping the Nor’westers at bay is extreme dry conditions with moisture level coming down to as low as 20 per cent in the afternoon.

“High temperature and moisture level are the two preconditions for inviting Nor’wester activities at a place. Though the prevailing temperature conditions of about 36-38 degrees Celsius in the afternoon (11am-3pm) is fulfilling the criteria, the moisture level is still low. Ideally, it should be around 35 per cent to invite Nor’westers but it is remaining around 20- 30 per cent only during the day time,” said Sen.

The Nor’westers hitting Bihar originate from the Chhotanagpur plateau, when air over the plateau heats up and gains altitude with moisture support from an anti-cyclonic circulation or similar weather system in the Bay of Bengal.

“Though the temperature is remaining suitably higher over the plateau, it is not being supported by any strong anti-cyclonic circulation over the Bay of Bengal,” said Sen.

The Met director, however, claimed that there is a possibility of Nor’wester in the north-eastern parts of Bihar over the next 48 hours.

“Several districts in north-east Bihar, including Kishanganj, Katihar and Purnea, are likely to witness light thunderstorm on Monday and Tuesday,” said Sen.

He added that there is no possibility of similar rainy conditions over the next three to four days in southern and central parts of Bihar, including Patna.

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