Climate Change

Sharp contrast: Bihar to face heatwave and heavy rainfall simultaneously, alerts IMD

Heatwaves are normal for May but volume of rainfall is not, say experts

By Mohd Imran Khan
Published: Tuesday 17 May 2022
File photo of a flood in BIhar. Photo: Agnimirh Basu

Bihar is facing a peculiar situation, with a heatwave alert announced for a part of the eastern state and prediction for rainfall, strong winds and lightning in another. These contrasting conditions are unusual and may be linked to climate change, said experts. 

The regional office of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a heatwave warning in Kaimur, Aurangabad, Rohtas, Gaya, Nawada and Buxar districts in drought-prone southern Bihar. 

The alert came keeping in view the rising temperature and hot winds. Some districts have been in the grip of a heatwave, according to official data released by the Patna centre of IMD May 17, 2022. 

A maximum temperature of 45.1 degrees Celsius was recorded inAurangabad district on May 16, the weather agency noted. This was followed by 42.2°C in Buxar, 43.9°C in Gaya, 43.6°C in Nawada, 42.1°C in Jamui, 40.8°C in Banka and 39.4°C in Patna.

Last month Bihar faced two long spells of heat wave, which were also early during the ongoing summer. Heatwaves normally hit the eastern state in May. 

The state disaster management department has appealed to people to take precautions during heatwave conditions in southern districts.

North Bihar was relatively cooler, with the mercury in the 34-35°C range, IMD noted. An alert of medium-to-light rainfall along with strong winds and lightning have been issued for the flood-prone districts of northern and eastern parts.

Rains lashed several districts from Monday evening to Tuesday morning, according to the weather agency. In the last 24 hours, 91.4 millimetres of rainfall was recorded in Thakurganj, Kishanganj district, it added. 

IMD predicted more rainfall in the next 24 hours in over a dozen districts: East Champaran, West Champaran, Araria, Kishanganj, Purnea, Katihar, Supaul, Madhubani, Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Madhepura. 

Monsoon is likely to be early in Bihar this year, according to IMD. Last year, Bihar received surplus rainfall in June, following the timely arrival of monsoon for the second year in a row.

The heatwave condition in the state is normal, but the amount of rainfall predicted is not, said Abdus Sattar, senior scientist at the Centre for Advanced Studies on Climate Change, Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa, Samastipur district.

For the last several years there has been a tendency of increasing rainfall activities during the month of May as compared to the normal conditions, he added. “This may be due to the direct impact of climate change, which may be called climate variability.” 

The coexistence of these conditions is beneficial as well as harmful for agriculture, the expert said.

Sattar, who is also an agro-meteorologist, said intense thunderstorms activities during May are a cause of concern for the farmers.

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