Kerala reels under the harsh summer sun; high alert in several districts

The official temperatures recorded would be different from the heatwave that is actually experienced at many places. Representative image: Dhanesh Ashokan/Manorama

As we enter March, the summer heat has begun setting in the state with high temperatures recorded in many places. The temperature at night too would begin to change now. However, climate experts say that this is a natural phenomenon. These days, the temperature at night in some places fluctuate between 28 and 30 degree Celsius. Meanwhile, the temperature at all the districts, except in Wayanad and Idukki, is above 20 degree Celsius in the morning.

As per the official data published by the India Meteorological Department, Vellanikkara in Thrissur (37.7 degree Celsius) recorded the highest temperature in Kerala on 29 February followed by Kottayam (37.5), Punalur and Alappuzha (37.4), Nedumbassery Airport (37.3) and Kannur Airport (37). Meanwhile, the highest temperature in the country was recorded at Erode (38.4). Kottayam was the hottest place in the country in the last two days with temperature rising up to 38.5 degree Celsius (it is four degrees higher than the regular temperature). Temperatures up to 35 – 38 degree Celsius were recorded in places like Alappuzha, Kochi and Palakkad.

Meanwhile, weather expert Rajeevan Erikulam told Manorama Online that no official updates have been published regarding the weather conditions in March. He also informed that the meteorological department has said that it wouldn’t rain until 2 March.

Interestingly, the official temperatures recorded would be different from the heatwave that is actually experienced at many places. Even though Kottayam had officially registered the highest temperature, there has been unofficial reports that the temperature in Pathanamthitta had risen to as high as 39 degree Celsius. However, this year, the heat wave in Palakkad isn’t as severe as the previous years.

Record heatwave in the state
The temperature rises as the humidity in the atmosphere goes up. So, the heatwave would be felt severe than the actual temperature that is recorded. For instance, if the temperature is 38 degree Celsius, you may feel extremely hot as if it is at least 40 degrees. The heatwave in each place depends upon the humidity in the atmosphere. Humidity would be more in the coastal areas.

The meteorological department doesn’t have manual observation in places like Kasargod, Wayanad, Idukki and Pathanamthitta. The temperatures are observed using the automatic station data. On 27 February, the highest temperature was officially recorded in Kottayam with 38.5 degree Celsius. However, in some places in Pathanamthitta, up to 40 degree Celsius was recorded. This was not considered as official data as there is no manual observation here by the meteorological department.

Districts battered by summer sun
From 27 to 29 February 2024, 38 degree Celsius was recorded as the highest temperature in Kollam and Kottayam. Meanwhile, it was up to 37 degree Celsius in Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha and Ernakulam districts. The temperature in districts like Thrissur, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Kannur was 36 degree Celsius (2 – 4 degrees more than usual temperature). High temperature along with humidity creates severe heatwaves in these districts, except in the high ranges.
The state disaster management authority has issued heat advisory to the people as the temperatures soar in Kerala.

The severe heatwave could cause many health issues like sunstroke, sunburns and dehydration. So, the public are expected to follow the advisory in order to stay healthy during the harsh summer:
» Do not expose the body to direct sunlight between 11 am and 3 pm in order to avoid the risk of sunstroke.

» Keep the body hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water. Make sure to drink water even if you are not thirsty.
» Avoid drinking alcohol, coffee, tea and carbonated drinks that could cause dehydration during the day.
» Always wear loose fitting cotton attires.

» Wear footwear whenever you go out. Do not forget to use umbrellas and hats to protect yourselves from getting directly hit by sun.
» Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. You could sip on healthy drinks like ORS solution and buttermilk.

» Fire breakouts are common in markets, buildings and dumping yards during summer. Proper fire audits should be conducted and other precautions should be taken in order to avoid any fire hazard. Those who live or run businesses close to these places should be vigilant.
» Forest fires are common when the temperatures rise. People living close to forest areas and hikers should be vigilant. Make sure to strictly adhere to the instructions of the forest department.

» Educational institutions should ensure that clean drinking water is available for the students. Besides, proper air circulation should be there in the classrooms. Drinking water should be supplied in the exam halls during the exam season.

» School authorities and parents should take care of the children’s health and wellbeing. Assemblies and programs that require the students to stay under the sun for longer duration should either be avoided or rescheduled. While taking students for excursions, the teachers should ensure that the students aren’t directly exposed to sun between 11 am and 3 pm.
» Panchayat authorities and teachers should take proper precautions to prevent the kids at anaganwadi from getting hit by direct sunrays.

» Bed ridden patients, old people, pregnant women, children, different abled people and those who suffer from illness shouldn’t expose themselves to sun from 11 am to 3 pm. They are at a higher risk of suffering from sunstroke; so proper precautions should be taken.

» The online food delivery platforms should ensure that their delivery persons who ride two wheelers are safer during the day time (11 am to 3 pm). The delivery persons should be instructed to wear comfortable clothes. Besides, they should be allowed to rest, if necessary, during their working hours.
» Media persons and police personnel should use umbrellas and try to avoid getting exposed directly to sun (11 am to 3 pm). Drinking water should be distributed in order to avoid dehydration.

» While conducting public programs or meetings, the organisers should arrange drinking water and shades for the participants. It is better to avoid such meetings from 11 am to 3 pm.
» Those who are travelling should stop at intervals to take sufficient rest. Always carry clean drinking water.

» Construction workers, agriculture labourers, wayside merchants and those who indulge in outdoor jobs could reschedule their working hours or ensure enough resting hours.
» Cattle shouldn’t be left out for grazing during the noon time. Besides, pet animals shouldn’t be allowed to roam outside to avoid the risk of sunstroke. Make sure to provide water for animals and birds.

» Do not leave children or pet animals unattended in parked cars or vehicles.
» Do not waste water; conserving and harvesting rainwater too is important. Always carry drinking water in bottles whenever you go out in order to avoid dehydration.

» Make sure to seek medical help if you feel nauseous or weak.
» Always follow the official advisory and warnings issued by the disaster management authority and the weather department. 

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