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Frequent, intense heatwaves made April third warmest in India in 122 years

India News

April this year ended as the third warmest over India in 122 years, the Monthly Weather and Climate summary issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said. This comes after March had remained the warmest over the same period.

Prolonged and frequent heatwaves affected major parts of the country during April, taking the maximum temperatures at many places in west Rajasthan, east Uttar Pradesh, west Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha in Maharashtra to over 45 degrees Celsius.

The monthly average maximum temperature recorded over the country last month was 35.30 degrees Celsius versus a normal of 33.94 degrees. The two warmest April months since 1901 have been in the recent past. The monthly average maximum temperatures recorded were 35.42 degrees in 2010 and 35.32 degrees Celsius in 2016.

Like the days, most nights during the last month were also warmer than usual in the country, the IMD data suggested. The monthly average minimum temperature recorded in April this year was 23.51 degrees Celsius, a departure of 1.36 degrees from normal – the second such occasion since 1901.

In fact, eleven meteorological stations in the country – across Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka and Lakshadweep – surpassed their existing temperature records for April (see box). Another three meteorological stations recorded temperatures as high as existing highest records.

Such high temperatures, the IMD officials said, were due to severe lack of favourable weather systems like western disturbances and thunderstorm activities over large parts of the country all through last month. As a result, the all-India rainfall was 38.4mm or minus 2 per cent below normal in April.

The Northwest India region, which recorded only 5.6 mm rain last month, was the third driest since 1901 after 1947 (1.8mm) and 1954(4.4mm).

On the contrary, south peninsular and northeast India received some very heavy to extremely heavy spells all through April. The IMD data concluded that the sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim received the region’s highest April rainfall ever, at 236.8mm in 122 years. New April rainfall records were created for Mawsynram (401.8 mm) and Itanagar (166.6 mm).

Previously, when the IMD had released data till April 28, the average maximum temperature across the country in April this year was calculated as 35.05 degrees, which was 1.12 degrees above the normal, and the fourth-highest average for the month recorded in 122 years. The IMD began recording weather data in 1901.

Meteorological stations with new April maximum temperature records (temperature in degree Celsius) | Source: IMD

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