Brace yourself for a heat wave, Met officials warn residents

Chennai has to brace itself for a blistering couple of days, as the Meteorological Department has predicted that a heat wave will hit the city on Friday and continue through Saturday. The mercury level is expected to shoot past the 40 degree Celsius mark.

Issuing a heat wave warning for many parts of the State, including Chennai, the department has asked the residents to avoid the midday sun. On Thursday, several weather stations across the State recorded a maximum temperature that was three to five degrees above normal. In Chennai, the suburbs were hotter than the city, with the Meenambakkam station recording 39.2 degree Celsius on Thursday.

According to Met officials, heat waves are more commonly reported from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh during summer. It has hit Tamil Nadu too this year due to a sustained dry weather and lack of showers in most parts of the State, including Chennai.

Stating that the temperature levels are expected to touch 40-41 degree Celsius in many parts of the State, the Meteorological Department has predicted that the condition may continue through the weekend.

Officials of the Department said the city had been recording 35 degree Celsius for the past few days. Night temperature has not dipped below 29 degree Celsius over the past three days. Strong south westerly winds, which bring hot and dry air, are preventing radiation from escaping the land surface. Normally, thunderstorms bring in the much needed relief from peaking mercury levels across the State.

Experts note that there have been years when day temperature peaked above 40 degree Celsius in April as well. Y. E. A. Raj, former deputy director general of meteorology, Chennai, said weak sea breeze and lack of showers and cloud cover had led to heat wave conditions this April. Summer showers were important for the temperature level to drop, he said, adding that there was however no indication of rains in the next three or four days.