Kolkata: India is experiencing a drastic change in weather patterns, with some regions facing severe heat waves and others witnessing thunderstorms and strong winds. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a gradual rise in temperature by 2-4 degrees Celsius over most parts of the country during the next five days. This warning comes on the heels of a record-breaking summer last year, when many cities recorded their highest ever temperatures.
One of the states that is likely to bear the brunt of the heat wave is West Bengal, where the mercury level is expected to soar above 40 degrees Celsius in some areas. According to IMD, heat wave conditions will be prevalent till Thursday over parts of Gangetic West Bengal, interior Odisha, West Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat Region, and Rayalaseema. Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal, saw its hottest day of the year on Monday, when the temperature reached 39.6 degrees Celsius, four degrees above normal.
The scorching heat has taken a toll on the health and well-being of the people, especially those who have to work outdoors or live in slums without proper ventilation. Many hospitals have reported a surge in cases of dehydration, heat stroke, viral fever, and other heat-related illnesses. Doctors have advised people to drink plenty of water, avoid direct exposure to sunlight, wear light and loose clothing, and use umbrellas or hats when going out.
The weather change has also affected the agriculture sector, as crops are wilting under the intense heat and lack of rainfall. Farmers are worried about their harvests and incomes, as they face water scarcity and pest attacks. The state government has announced some relief measures for the farmers, such as providing free seeds, fertilizers, and crop insurance.
However, not all regions of West Bengal are experiencing dry and hot weather. Some parts of the state are also witnessing thunderstorms and gusty winds, which have brought some respite from the heat but also caused damage to property and life. On Tuesday, a thunderstorm hit several districts of West Bengal, uprooting trees, snapping power lines, and disrupting traffic. At least two people were killed and several others injured due to lightning strikes.
The IMD has attributed the weather change to various factors, such as global warming, El Nino phenomenon, local heating effect, and wind patterns. The weather office has forecast that the temperature will start dropping from Friday onwards, as a western disturbance will bring rain and snowfall to the northern parts of India. However, it has also warned that such extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent and intense in the future due to climate change.