Frequency of heatwave days in India is increasing rapidly. India reported high record temperatures in March 2022, making it the hottest days in 122 years since records began. Heat this summer is unbearable in many parts of India. Summer temperatures have risen across India in recent decades. This has reflected in the number of hot days the country experiences during the summer, from April to June. Heatwaves usually occur in plains of northwestern, central, eastern, and northern India from March to June. This includes Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, parts of Maharastra and Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana.Sometimes it occurs in Tamil Nadu & Kerala also. According to Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), heatwave is declared only when the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 400 C for plains and at least 300 C for hilly regions.
The average annual heatwave days in India recorded across the state decreased from 99 days in 1970-1979 to 92 days in 1990-1999. Every decade since 1970, the average annual heatwave days in India recorded by state decreased from 99 days in 1970-1979 to 92 days in 1990-1999. This rose to 137 days from 2010 to 2019. In the years 2020 and 2021, the annual average heatwaves observed were 42 and 36, respectively.
From 2010 to 2019, Rajasthan recorded the highest- 13 days heatwave, followed by Odisha (12), Jharkhand (11), and Andhra Pradesh (11). In the year 2020, Uttarakhand recorded 7 heatwave days.
A total of 17,488 deaths have been reported by heatwaves since 1970, according to Envistats 2022, which publishes data edited by IMD. More than 2,488 deaths were recorded in 1970-79, but decreased to 1,505 between 1980-1989 and has increased since then. From 2010-2019, the number of deaths rose to 6,496, about 4.3 times from 1980-89. The 2015 heatwave recorded nearly 2,000 deaths. Most of them occurred in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, which experienced extremely high humidity and extreme temperatures.
Some measures one should take to minimize the impact of heat waves
· Avoid going out in the sun during the daytime.
· Drink sufficient water to keep hydrated.
· Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose, and porous cotton clothes.
· Use protective goggles, an umbrella/hat, shoes, or chappals while going out in the sun.
· During high temperature, avoid strenuous activities.
· Avoid things that dehydrate the body.
· Avoid high-protein food and do not eat stale food.
· If you work outside, use a hat or an umbrella and use a damp cloth on your head, neck, face, and limbs.
· If you feel faint or ill anytime, see a doctor immediately.