Climate Change

Odisha reels under intense heatwave conditions; IMD issues orange alert

Maximum temperature is very likely to be above normal by 4-6°C at a few places over the next few days

By Priya Ranjan Sahu
Published: Tuesday 13 June 2023
A deserted road in Sambalpur. Photo: Priya Ranjan Sahu.

Odisha has been reeling under heatwave conditions since April 2023. The situation has become more intense since the first week of June. The entire state has virtually become a blast furnace, with temperatures soaring above 40°C at 31 of the 38 monitoring centres of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) located in the state.

According to the Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre of IMD, on June 12, 2023, its centre in the western Odisha city of Sambalpur recorded a maximum temperature of 46.1°C, followed by Hirakud with 45.6°C and Subarnapur with 45°C. IMD has issued an ‘orange alert’ for heatwave to severe heatwave across the state on June 12.

“As per the special bulletin issued by IMD, hot weather conditions are very likely to prevail in some districts of Odisha. Maximum temperature is very likely to be above normal by 4-6°C at a few places over the districts during the next five days,” the office of the special relief commissioner said in a statement.

Also read: How to fight heat wave, the Odisha way

The capital city of Bhubaneswar recorded a temperature of 44.3°C on June 12. Bargarh, a town in western Odisha, recorded 44.9°C, while another five centres, including Boudh, Balangir, Titlagarh, Nayagarh and Talcher, recorded 44°C each. A total of six centres, including Angul, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Dhenkanal, Cuttack and Nuapada, recorded temperatures between 43.9°C and 43.2°C.   

Sundargarh, Jagatsinghpur and Khurda recorded temperatures above 42°C while Kendrapara, Phulbani, Bhadrak, Rayagada, Bhawanipatna and Malkangiri centres recorded above 41°C. Keonjhar, Deogarh, Baripada, Paralakhemundi, Chandbali and Chhatrapur recorded above 40 °C.

Heatwave conditions began in Odisha in mid-April and continued through May, but from June, it became more severe. From the first week of the month, most of the IMD centres have been consistently recording temperatures above 40°C. While Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Titlagarh have recorded above 45°C on different days, many other centres have too consistently recorded above 44°C.  

Due to extreme heat conditions, roads are deserted by 9 am in several parts of Odisha, especially in the western parts of the state. The special relief commissioner has asked the people to take precautionary measures while venturing out between 11 am and 3.30 pm.

Odisha has a history of extreme heat. In 1998, over 2,000 people died due to extreme heatwaves. However, since then, fatalities reduced to a large extent to 91 the following year due to measures taken by the state government. The fatalities since then have been in two digits except for 2005 and 2010, when 237 and 109 people died, respectively. 

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