The mercury touched the 40-degree mark even before a single vote is cast in any of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
However, the only breather on Wednesday was that the temperature came down to 36.4 degrees Celsius as people in six south Bihar seats are gearing up to exercise their franchise.
Besides Patna, where the temperature shot up to 40 degrees Celsius on Tuesday for the first time this year, similar conditions are being observed in other towns as well. Bhagalpur topped the maximum temperature chart in the state on Wednesday with 37°C, the same reading as observed on Tuesday. Gaya and Purnea were almost equally hot as Patna with the maximum temperature standing at 36.9°C and 36.2°C, respectively.
Bihar goes to polls from Thursday, followed by April 17, 24, 30, and May 7 and 12.
Weathermen attributed the sudden northward movement in the mercury column on Tuesday to the strengthening of dry and hot westerly winds, which weakened on Wednesday. “The continuous blow of hot westerly winds in the region over the past one week triggered the maximum temperature to touch the 40-degree mark on Tuesday. However, the westerly current weakened today (Wednesday) and moist easterly wind became comparatively stronger. This made the maximum temperature to plunge by three notches,” said Ashish Sen, director, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Patna.
The maximum temperature in Patna has remained over 35°C over the past nine consecutive days. Weathermen have claimed that it is expected to hover around 37-38°C till Saturday and clouding for a few days from Sunday. Meteorologists have claimed that the preconditions for Nor’wester, the sudden thundershowers that act as summer coolers at this time of the year, are slowly taking shape in and around Patna.
“High temperature and moisture level are the two preconditions for inviting Nor’wester activities at a place. While the prevailing temperature conditions of about 36-38°C in the afternoon hours (11am-3pm) are already fulfilling one of the criteria, the strengthening of easterly current from Wednesday would attract the Nor’wester furthermore towards the region,” said Sen.
The Met director said weak Nor’wester activities have started occurring over the coastal Bengal. “If the moisture level in this region continues to remain around 35-40 per cent over the next three to four days, then people can expect light thunderstorm activities by the weekend, starting from the districts in the north-eastern part of the state, including Purnea, Katihar and Kishanganj,” said Sen.
Health experts have cautioned candidates and supporters to make changes in their campaign pattern to beat the heat. Physician Diwakar Tejaswi, who had contested the 2009 parliamentary elections, said: “My advice to the candidates is that they should not leave with empty stomach in the morning. They should take sufficient citrus fruits and ORS powder to avoid electrolyte imbalance. Sattu, the traditional drink of the region, would be helpful like the umbrella and hat.”
Diwakar added that political workers should make sure to drink sufficient water and not worry about frequent urination.
“Ideally, a person should excrete two litres of urine in a day even after precipitation when campaigning. Moreover, if possible, they should avoid campaigning in the open between 12noon and 3pm,” the doctor said.
No heat wave
Patna Met department recorded 18 per cent humidity in the air at 1pm on Wednesday. Such level of humidity in the air, in fact, prevents the discomfort factor from rising to higher levels.
“The discomfort factor is a condition of mixture of high temperature with high moisture content persisting over four-five days. However, no such discomfort factor can be said to have hit Patna, as the temperature is rising at a steady rate and the level of moisture is pretty low at present,” added Sen. The Met director also claimed that the city was unlikely to witness heat wave conditions at least by the end of this week.
According to meteorology, heat wave condition is said to hit when the normal temperature is 40°C and above, and the actual temperature continuous to be 5°C above than the normal for more than two days.
Yet, the prevailing conditions have thrown life out of gear. “I feel really bad when I see my four-year-old daughter going to school in such conditions,” said Arpita, a resident of Ashiana Nagar.