Heatwave grips Chennai, several north and interior areas of State

Meteorological Department forecasts slight respite from Sunday

A heatwave gripped several north and interior areas of the State and soaring mercury levels broke records in places like Chennai. However, there may be a slight respite from the searing heat, particularly in the north coastal region from April 4, according to the Meteorological Department.

On Wednesday, many weather stations in and around Chennai and interior districts, such as Dharmapuri and Karur, breached the 40-degree mark even before noon. Nungambakkam recorded its highest temperature for the year as the mercury level climbed several notches above normal.

Only two days into April, the city sizzled under blistering heat as it experienced a maximum temperature of 41.2 degree Celsius, which is 7.4 degree Celsius above the average temperature. The mercury level peaked in suburban areas in Meenambakkam and West Tambaram (41.8 degree Celsius), Madhavaram (41.1 degree Celsius) and Tiruvallur (41 degree Celsius).

Officials of the Meteorological Department said Vellore recorded the highest temperature in the State with 43.4 degree Celsius. Severe heatwave conditions swept through interior places as Salem, Tiruchi, Madurai and Tiruttani registered a maximum temperature above 42 degree Celsius.

The Meteorological Department predicted that the heatwave conditions would prevail over pockets of 27 districts across the State and Puducherry till Sunday. The number of districts that will experience blistering heat may reduce from April 4.

Moreover, light rain with thunderstorms is possible in isolated pockets of interior districts following convective activity till April 6.

On Wednesday, a few places like Kamakshipuram in Dindigul district received 3 cm of rain.

Rare occurrence

S. Balachandran, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Chennai, said such prolonged heat waves had not occurred in the recent past, wherein the day temperature escalated by seven degree Celsius in some places.

Multiple factors, including dry, hot land winds, clear skies, moisture-less conditions and direct sunshine, led to intense heat over the State as early as April.

“Weather models are indicating a decreasing trend in heat after Sunday as change in wind direction to cool easterlies is likely. A gradual decrease is expected in day temperature, particularly in the north coastal areas,” he said.

The weather system near the Andaman Islands had disturbed the wind pattern and prevented easterly winds to the region. This was also one of the reasons for the searing heat, officials noted. As it was expected to become a deep depression and move towards the Myanmar coast, the wind direction over the State could change and bring some respite from soaring temperatures.

The Meteorological Department said the maximum temperature would hover around 40 degree Celsius till Sunday in Chennai. It warned people, particularly farmers, electoral candidates and voters, to avoid being outdoors between noon and 4 p.m.

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