Temperatures have touched record highs this season across the five southern states in March, bringing problems such as drought, water scarcity and power shortage in their wake. To drive home the point, here is a snapshot in five maps:
According to IMD statistics, Kerala registers a normal maximum temperature of 34.2 degrees Celsius in March, 34.1 in April and 32.9 in May. The temperature, this year, is two degrees above normal compared to the same period in the previous years. It is likely to go up in many districts in the coming days, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Regional Director K Santhosh said.
Palakkad recorded the highest temperature in March of 39.1 degree Celsius followed by Kochi at 38 degree Celsius.
The average highest temperature recorded in Karnataka in the month of March is 32.7 degree Celsius. However, this year, Bidar, which is located in the hottest region of the state, recorded the highest temperature of 40 degree Celsius for March.
According to IMD data, Bengaluru has touched a high of 37.4 degree Celsius, the highest ever recorded in March, beating the previous highest temperature of 37.3 degree celsius recorded in March 1996.
The soaring temperatures are having a cascading effect with water bodies drying up, reservoirs not having enough water to supply to hydel power plants and power production taking a massive hit. The drought like situation is affecting crops which in turn is causing food production to fall.
IMD statistics show that Tamil Naduâ€™s average warmest temperature in March is 33.2 degree Celsius.
Madurai has experienced the hottest summer in the last 10 years with temperatures reaching 41.1 degrees. The high temperatures could be the result of felling of several trees for four-laning of roads without reforestation, and destruction of hillocks by mining, said a pollution control board official.
Vellore and Salem sizzled at 40 degree Celsius, the highest recorded in March this year. â€śChennai may get a respite from the searing heat in mid-April as evening showers are expected. We expect the day temperature to peak beyond 42 degree Celsius in May,â€ť said S. B. Thampi, deputy director general of meteorology, Chennai.
In March, APâ€™s average warmest temperature is 35.4 degree Celsius, as per IMD.
The IMD has forecast that the seasonal temperature would be more than one degree above normal over southwest India. "This in turn suggests high probability of moderate and severe heat wave conditions during the hot weather season," the MeT department said.
The weather phenomenon called El Nino has also been attributed as a cause for the above normal temperatures.
Heat wave conditions are prevailing at several places in AP with Anantapur recording the highest temperature of 42 degree Celsius in March followed by Kurnool at 41.
The average highest temperature recorded in Telangana in March is around 39 degree Celsius, according to IMD.
This year, with the heat wave already kicking in and deaths being reported from across the state, the government has submitted an action plan before the Hyderabad High Court to deal with sunstroke and other heat-related deaths.
"Hot winds are flowing from the northern parts of the country into the state, ultimately escalating the on-ground temperatures,â€ť said O Nagendra Goud, a senior meteorologist at IMD Hyderabad.
"Owing to the lack of moisture in the air, there is a lot of dry heat. The heat that is prevailing in the city is dry heat, which is dangerous for the body," he said.