A woman at Albert Ekka Chowk uses a big handkerchief to protect her daughter from the harsh sun in Ranchi on Sunday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Weather maths has warned a huffing and puffing Jharkhand of tougher times ahead until the monsoon arrives sometime around June 20.
High maximum temperatures spurred by westerly winds and occasional easterly draft-stimulated high relative humidity spelt bad news for citizens on Sunday. And Met scientists, who had declared a heat wave on Friday, extended their alert for another 48 hours.
“Jharkhand is normally in the grip of westerly winds blowing from northern parts of the country. However, in some places, easterly and southerly currents were blowing since last (Saturday) evening causing moisture incursion. This is raising the humidity,” said A.K. Sen, the director of Patna Meteorological Centre.
He added: “The heat wave will continue for 48 hours. The week ahead will remain hot and humid although chart analysis indicates partly cloudy skies and possibility of thunderstorms in 24 hours.”
The average discomfort index or DI (measured on the basis of temperature, humidity and wind pattern) was as high as 62 degrees, a punishing seven degrees above normal, in the state.
The index in Jamshedpur was 65 degrees, 10 notches above normal. In places like Daltonganj, Bokaro and Dhanbad, it swung between 64 and 66 degrees. Districts like Koderma, Deoghar, Simdega, Godda and Latehar were boilers too. Ranchi, thanks to its relatively low humidity, read a discomfort index of 60 degrees, five notches above normal.
“In the pre-monsoon season, the relative humidity makes the weather oppressive even if temperatures are low,” explained an official in Patna. “An atmospheric circulation over the Bay of Bengal and change in the wind pattern to easterly is helping in moisture inflow. Respite will come only with rain,” he added.
Weathermen at the IMD’s Ranchi centre said the upper-air low-pressure trough, which was stretching between eastern Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand, had resulted in light showers at a few places, including Jamshedpur and Giridih, on Saturday evening. The trough, located 1.5km above the sea level, has now become weak and there is no possibility of rainfall over Jharkhand unless some sudden change takes place in the system.
Daltonganj topped the heat chart on Sunday with 45°C, five notches above normal. The reading was a tad lower than the season’s highest of 46.8°C, which the Palamau district headquarters recorded on Saturday.
Jamshedpur saw a high of around 41°C, two degrees above normal and a small step down from Saturday’s 42.5°C.
Despite its altitude advantage, capital Ranchi too witnessed a Celsius surge to 41.4 degree on Saturday, its highest this summer. On Sunday, Ranchi and its adjoining areas recorded around 40°C.
“Temperatures will continue to remain high for another two-three days owing to the dominating westerly winds. Chart analysis shows that clouds may form over Jharkhand, but they won’t transform into rain,” said a duty officer at the Regional Meteorological Centre in Calcutta.