Maximum temperatures have tumbled over parts of North-West, Central and East India as the Northern Hemisphere spring gradually gives way to the pre-summer season in a pattern that contrasts sharply from a year-ago when the mercury had risen to the century’s high. Instead, this year, temperatures peaked prematurely in February, setting another record. Meanwhile, the current outlook suggests top heat may not return for at least the next 10 days.

Maximum mercury level

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Jharsuguda in Odisha recorded the highest maximum temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. As for Wednesday, it forecast thunderstorms accompanied by lightning or hail for parts of Chhattisgarh; lightning or gusty winds (speed 30-40 kmph) over Jharkhand; lightning over the hills of West Bengal and Sikkim, East Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Madhya Maharashtra and Marathawada.

Also read: Wheat crop may be saved as a repeat of heatwave in March unlikely

Deep dive to the South

Unseasonal thunderstorms, wind gusts and hail are not the best advertisement for standing crops. Farmers may have to brace for more as a prevailing cooler western disturbance over North-West India, trigger for the unseasonal weather, took a deep dive, reaching down to Hubballi and Ballari in Karnataka and Proddattur in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday. An induced cyclonic circulation (proof of intensity of the disturbance) lay over South Rajasthan and its neighbourhood.

Unfolds productive trough

The western disturbance has also helped unfold a trough from Goa to North Chhattisgarh across North Interior Karnataka, Telangana and Vidarbha. This is where thunderstorms, lightning and hail brew, after clouds develop towards the afternoon/ evening. The IMD sees a fresh western disturbance approaching North-West India by March 14, and a bigger one four to five days later. Day temperatures are expected to behave in a wavy pattern until then, according to the global outlook.

Warm Maharashtra, Karnataka

The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts says the West Coast and adjoining parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka may stay warmest during the next three-four days, following which the warmth will expand over Central India and North Peninsular India (Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra), Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan. This wave of heating will last until March 16-17, when suddenly the top heat disappears from most parts of the country.

Wavy heating trend

An IMD forecast for three days from March 13 also indicates a rise in maximum temperatures over Central India and Maharashtra by 3-5 degrees Celsius as early as on Thursday and Friday. No significant change is seen in Gujarat until Thursday, subsequent to which temperatures may rise by 2-4 degrees Celsius during the next two days. No significant change in maximum temperatures is expected over the rest of the country during the next five days, the IMD outlook said.