2018 summer may be milder than last year: IMD

The summer of 2018 would undoubtedly be hot, but it may not turn out to be as bad as the summer of 2017, the India Meteorological Department has predicted.

"The seasonal average temperature of April-May-June in most of the 36 meteorological subdivisions are likely to be cooler than last year," IMD said on Sunday in its seasonal outlook for the temperature during summer, between April and June this year.

The average temperature readings for maximum, minimum and mean would be "above normal" in most of the meteorological subdivisions except east and southern India, where the seasonal temperature would be "below normal".

Heat wave conditions are likely in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Telangana and meteorological subdivisions of Marathawada, Vidarbha, Madhya Maharashtra and coastal Andhra Pradesh.

IMD calculates heat waves in two different formats. First, if the temperature departure from normal is between 4.5-6.4 degrees, and if the temperature crosses the 6.4 degrees limit, it is called severe heat waves.

In the second method, if the maximum temperature crosses the 45 degrees mark, IMD declares heat wave.

This is the second heat wave alert from the IMD in two months. On March 1, the weather agency issued another temperature outlook for the pre-monsoon months March, April and May also warning about the impending temperature rise.

Barring pockets of peninsular India, harsh summer was predicted for the rest of the country in the March outlook with the central and northern states bearing the maximum brunt. A worrying trend was increased warming of the hill stations.

Weather officials said not only has the frequency of heat waves increased since 2010, but there is also a noticeable increase in the number of severe heat wave days in the past 15 years, as compared to the previous four decades.

Met records show there were on an average 74 severe heat wave days per year between 1961-70. The number dipped to 34 between 1971-80 and remained low at 45 and 48 in the next two decades before shooting up to 98 between 2001 and 2010.

The latest temperature outlook, however, carries a silver line too with the IMD suggesting continuation of La Nina condition - a global sea-surface temperature cooling pattern - till the spring, which bolsters the possibility of a normal monsoon season.

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