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Celsius free fall continues - Jharkhand to remain in grip of cold wave for 2 more days

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By PINAKI MAJUMDAR AND SANTOSH K. KIRO
  • Published 5.01.11
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Ranchi/Jamshedpur, Jan. 4: There is going to be no respite from the biting cold, at least for the next 48 hours.

The Patna Meteorological Office today said cold wave conditions over Jharkhand would prevail for another two days, even as it sounded a severe cold wave alert for some areas. With temperatures plummeting, cold related ailments and deaths have also been reported from across the state.

“A severe cold wave alert, the first in four years, has been issued keeping in view the prevailing weather conditions,” said A.K. Manjhi, senior meteorologist at the Patna Met office. Severe cold wave conditions prevail when the minimum temperature drops six notches below normal.

Ranchi, Daltonganj and Bokaro today recorded the season’s lowest minimum temperatures. While the capital froze at 4.4°C, five points below normal, the minimum reading in Bokaro was 5.6°C. Daltonganj recorded 4.5°C, three notches below normal.

Kanke, located 8km from Ranchi, registered 1°C for the second time this winter. Today’s minimum was seven degrees below normal.

Jamshedpur at 8.1°C and coal capital Dhanbad with 8.3°C, were relatively warmer. Chaibasa in West Singhbhum recorded a minimum of 7.4°C. Several other places including Koderma, Hazaribagh, Deoghar and Latehar, too, witnessed a three degree fall in minimum temperatures in the last 24 hours.

The Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore, Calcutta, said conditions were favourable for a further plunge in minimum temperatures. “The entire state is in the grip of north-westerly winds, which is resulting in a Celsius slide,” said a duty officer at the Alipore office. He added the weather would remain dry over Jharkhand.

Adding to the cold statistics was the fact that this was the first time in at least five years that cold wave conditions had prevailed for so long. Winter was disappointing last year and in 2008, cold wave conditions prevailed over the state in the last week of December, but only for 48 hours. In 2007, Jharkhand was under the influence of a cold wave in the first week of January, but again only for 48 hours.

However, this time the cold wave, the third of the season, has been prevailing for the last 72 hours. Meteorologists said with no signs of change in the wind pattern and in the absence of any adverse condition, the cold wave will continue for another 48 hours.

Meanwhile, in the capital, the number of people complaining of cold-related ailments has shot up over the last few days. Doctors said the patients were mostly children and the elderly. While those suffering from hypertension were the worst affected, asthma patients were not faring any better.

“Half of the patients we get in our hospital everyday come with complaints related to the extreme cold conditions. In a day, we have been getting about 1,000 patients,” said Akhilesh Kumar Choudhary, deputy medical superintendent of Sadar Hospital, Ranchi.

The story is similar at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS). Doctors at the premier health institute said the number of patients visiting the hospital had increased manifold over the last two weeks.

“The number of elderly people visiting the hospital with complaints of high blood pressure has increased to a great extent. Number of children coming for treatment of cough and cold is also high,” said A.K. Mahto, professor of medicine at RIMS.

He advised covering one’s head and ears to beat the cold.

Meanwhile, there were unconfirmed reports that over a dozen people had died due to the extreme weather in and around the capital. The state disaster management department, however, had no data on the subject. “We have asked the deputy commissioners to send us details of deaths that have occurred due to the cold wave. We are yet to receive any reports,” said an official of the department.

Two unnatural deaths were reported from Bokaro steel city, which were being attributed to the cold.