The Telegraph
Monday , June 2 , 2014
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Spiteful summer shorter

This summer was hotter and drier compared to the previous year but shorter.

Monsoon barely two weeks away, Met scientists said the summer of 2014 was comparatively hotter than 2013 but cooler than 2012. The summer of 2012 was the worst in the past six years. Three heatwaves had singed the city that year.

According to the Met department, the summer months are March, April and May. June marks the arrival of monsoon.

The city experienced two heatwaves this year compared to last year’s one. The highest maximum temperature in the past three months was 43.5°C on May 11 compared to last year’s 42.4°C recorded on May 1.

The rainfall in summer months in the city was comparatively less than that in the previous year. The rainfall in March, April and May this year was 95.5mm — around 42 per cent higher than average. The city had received 128.6mm rainfall in the summer months in the previous year. (See graphic)

The onset of summer was a bit delayed this year because of a prolonged winter, as the minimum temperature did not go beyond 13°C till the first week of March. Frequent rainfall and moist easterly winds, which keep a tab on the surge in the mercury column, continued to dominate the atmosphere till the third week of March.

The prickly heat conditions started in the last week of March. The month’s highest maximum temperature — 37°C — was recorded on March 27. The highest maximum temperature in April was 42.1°C (on April 26).

Ashish Sen, director, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Patna, claimed that the absence of moisture and Nor’wester were the salient features of this summer.

“The onset of summer was delayed but it was moisture-less thereafter. Starting from April-end, the dry westerlies continued to sweep the state almost throughout May. There were no Nor’wester thundershowers this year because of the absence of moisture in the atmosphere,” said Sen.

Besides the absence of Nor’wester, the dry westerly winds led to prolonged heatwave spells this year. “The second spell of heatwave this year lasted for nearly a week (May 18 to 23), which was abnormally long. Normally, a heatwave should not last for more than two to three days,” said Sen.

The continuous dry westerly wind was a blessing in disguise for residents, as they did not have to brave sultry conditions. The presence of moisture in the air increases the discomfort-level in the summer.

Residents agreed. “This summer, the temperature was high but the heat did not seem unbearable as it was never sultry. In my personal view, the summer season was normal this year,” said Surendra Sinha, a resident of Kidwaipuri.

Monsoon update

A source in the Met office claimed that the progress of monsoon over the Bay of Bengal had been normal till now. The evening monsoon bulletin of IMD on Sunday stated that conditions were favourable for further advancement of monsoon over southwest Bay of Bengal.

“We expect the monsoon to reach Bihar latest by June 13. It might hit earlier as well and rainfall is likely to be higher than the previous year,” said a senior official at IMD, Patna.