Monsoon to hit Kerala coast by 4 June, says weather department

Death toll from blistering heat crosses 2,200 even as weather bureau warns temperatures across southern, western and northern India would hover around 45 degrees Celsius in coming days

AFP & PTI
First Published1 Jun 2015
Experts point to record high temperatures this year over a longer period than usual. Photo: Reuters <br />
Experts point to record high temperatures this year over a longer period than usual. Photo: Reuters

Hyderabad/Delhi: Scattered rain on Sunday brought much-needed but only temporary relief to parts of the country hit by a long heatwave as the death toll from the blistering temperatures crossed 2,200, officials said.

Thunderstorms struck sections of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which have borne the brunt of the deadliest heatwave in more than two decades, as well as the national capital.

But the toll continued to climb and the weather bureau warned that temperatures in swathes of southern, western and northern India would hover around 45 degrees Celsius in coming days.

“1,636 people have now died in the Andhra state,” P. Tulsi Rani, a top disaster management official, told AFP.

Another 541 people have died in neighbouring Telangana from the heatwave, an official said. Hospitals are struggling to cope with the number of patients suffering from severe heatstroke.

With conditions not favouring its progress, the south-west monsoon is expected to hit the Kerala coast by 4 June, three days after its normal onset date, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Sunday.

According to D.S. Pai, lead monsoon forecaster at the IMD, conditions are still not favourable for the progress of the monsoon and there will be a delay. The IMD, in its preliminary forecast, had said that the south-west monsoon would hit the coast of Kerala on 30 May.

The monsoon’s progress has been sluggish because of an anticyclone in the Arabian Sea. “Because of this, it is also not getting strength. We are expecting the monsoon to hit the coast by 4 June,” Pai said.

Experts point to record high temperatures this year over a longer period than usual.

In his monthly radio address on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged everyone “to take care of yourselves in this heat” as the country waits for the monsoon rains to hit.

In Odisha, 21 deaths have now been recorded from the heat, with at least another nine deaths reported elsewhere in the country, PTI reported.

A brief spell of rain on Sunday brought slight relief in the Delhi region but the temperature again touched 43 degrees Celsius in the afternoon.

A heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature hits 45 degrees Celsius, or five degrees higher than the average for the area in previous years.

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