India Braces for Extreme Heatwave During Lok Sabha Elections

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a concerning forecast, indicating that the country is poised to experience “extreme heat wave days” from April to June. This prediction coincides with the crucial Lok Sabha elections scheduled in seven phases from April 19 to June 1. According to Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the director general of IMD, above-normal maximum temperatures are expected across most parts of the nation during this period, with central and western peninsular India facing a higher likelihood of extreme heat.

Implications of the Forecast:
During this time frame, the IMD anticipates above-normal heatwave conditions across most plains areas, with some regions likely to experience 10 to 20 heatwave days, a significant increase compared to the usual four to eight days. States such as Gujarat, central Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, north Chhattisgarh, and Andhra Pradesh are expected to bear the brunt of these severe heatwaves.

Government Preparedness Amid Election Season:
In light of these forecasts, Union Minister of Earth Sciences, Kiren Rijiju, has highlighted the need for preparedness, especially with the elections looming. He emphasized that several states, including West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Karnataka, are projected to be severely affected. The government has conducted meetings with state administrations and issued advisories to ensure adequate measures are in place to mitigate the impact of the heatwave during the electoral process.

Current Weather Conditions:
Recent observations from the IMD indicate soaring temperatures across various regions, with maximum temperatures reaching between 40-42 degrees Celsius in certain areas. Minimum temperatures have also been above normal in several places, signaling the onset of warmer weather conditions. Additionally, the IMD’s latest bulletin warns of temperatures surpassing the 95th percentile in several states, indicating an increased likelihood of heatwave conditions persisting in the coming days.

Regional Outlook:
Specific regions are expected to experience varying degrees of heatwave conditions, with North Interior Karnataka, Rayalaseema, East Madhya Pradesh, and Gangetic West Bengal among the areas likely to be impacted. Warm night conditions are anticipated in pockets of Madhya Maharashtra, Marathwada, and Odisha, further emphasizing the need for caution and preparedness.

As India braces itself for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections amid the looming threat of extreme heatwaves, proactive measures and public awareness are crucial to mitigate the potential risks posed by soaring temperatures. Government agencies, along with citizens, must work together to ensure the safety and well-being of all individuals, especially during this critical period.


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