India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned of an enhanced probability of heatwaves enveloping many parts of Central and adjoining North-West India during March-to-May while ruling out a repeat of record spikes in March-April of last year. The heat wave threat applies to most parts of the country except Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand over North-West India and the southern half of Karnataka, the western half of Tamil Nadu and the entire Kerala, a long-range forecast for the hot weather season issued in New Delhi on Tuesday said.

Record heat in February

This forecast comes after the ongoing month (February) usurped for itself the heat record with the monthly averaged maximum temperature over Indian region being the highest since 1901. Similarly, the monthly averaged minimum temperature over Indian region was fifth highest since 1901 after cooler western disturbances stayed away from North-West India and Central India to be replaced by the heat-spewing anticyclone early into spring, which was unusual..

Maximum day temperatures

State-wise day maximum temperatures are expected to be high over Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Coastal Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and entire North-East India during the three-month season. In contrast, the daily maxima are expected to be lower over western parts of Jammu & Kashmir; Punjab; Haryana; Chandigarh; and Delhi in North-West India, and over East Gujarat; entire Maharashtra; Karnataka (except the coastal areas); western parts of Telangana and Rayalaseema; and northern and central Tamil Nadu.

Respite for Peninsular India

The IMD saw only a low probability for heatwaves over Central India for the month of March in its seasonal outlook for the season (March to May) and monthly outlook for March for rainfall and temperature issued on Tuesday. Addressing a virtual press conference, SC Bhan, Head, Hydromet and Agromet Advisory Services, IMD, said above normal day temperatures are likely over most parts of North-East India, East and Central India and some parts of North-West India during these three months while they will be normal to below normal over Peninsular India.

As for night (minimum) temperatures, Bhan said they will likely be above normal over most parts of the country except the South Peninsula where they will be normal to below normal minimum. For the month of March, too, minimum temperatures will stay elevated except over the South Peninsula. Maximum temperatures may stay above normal except over Peninsular India (as mentioned above) where normal to below normal maximum temperatures are likely.

Also read: Wait for IMD’s April forecast for more accuracy on monsoon: DG

Normal rainfall seen

In a good augury, Bhan said rainfall in March is most likely to be normal 83-117 per cent of the long-period average( LPA) in the country. Below-normal rainfall is most likely over most areas of North-West India, West-Central India and some parts of East and North-East India. Normal to above normal rainfall is likely over most parts of Peninsular India, East-Central India and isolated pockets of North-East India.

Bhan said the winter season of 2022-23 has witnessed below normal rainfall due to lack of western disturbance activity. Rainfall for the country as a whole was below normal by a massive 60 per cent cumulatively during January 1 to February 27. The worst deficit was in Central India (-87 per cent); followed by South Peninsula (-60 per cent); East and North-East India (-55 per cent); and North-West India )-29 per cent).