Extreme weather

South Asia faces extreme weather with heatwave in India, cyclone in Bangladesh

South Asia faces extreme weather with heatwave in India, cyclone in Bangladesh
A man and a cow sit under the shadow of a tree on the Yamuna river bed on a hot summer day in New Delhi, India, May 22, 2024. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI, May 24 (Reuters) - South Asia is experiencing extreme weather conditions, with at least nine killed due to a suspected heat stroke in India's west, while parts of Bangladesh and neighbouring states are likely to be hit by a cyclone in a couple of days.

Extreme temperatures throughout Asia last month were made worse most likely as a result of human-driven climate change, a team of international scientists said.

India’s summer temperatures often peak in May, but scientists have predicted more heatwave days than usual this year, largely caused by fewer non-monsoon thunder showers and an active but weakening dry El Nino weather phenomenon.

At least nine deaths in Rajasthan in India’s west were suspected to have resulted from people falling sick in the sweltering heat, local media said.

The state’s disaster management officials told Reuters they had yet to ascertain the cause, as medical examinations were not complete.

The news comes after the city of Barmer in Rajasthan topped temperature charts this week with a record 48.8 Celsius (119.84 Fahrenheit) on Thursday.

Weather officials have warned of conditions ranging from a heatwave to severe heatwave in many parts of the state, as well as in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana.

Indian weather officials set the heatwave threshold at a maximum temperature of 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) in the plains, as well as a departure of at least 4.5 Celsius (40.1 Fahrenheit) from the normal maximum temperature.

In neighbouring Pakistan, the climate change ministry said that about 26 districts in the country were boiling under a severe heatwave as of Thursday, with the current spell of sizzling temperature likely to last until May 30.

The temperature is expected to hit 50 Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in at least two cities in the southern province of Sindh on Friday, which has already delayed week annual school exams due to the blistering heat.


In a striking contrast, Bangladesh and parts of West Bengal in eastern India are expected to be hit by “severe cyclonic storm” Remal, which is likely to make landfall on Sunday, IMD has predicted. In Kerala in southern India at least seven people died this week following pre-monsoon rains that were about 18% percent heavier than normal, bringing floods that disrupted flight schedules in some areas.

With a red alert issued by the weather department, Kerala is likely to be lashed with very heavy to extremely heavy rain on Friday too.

Reporting by Tanvi Mehta, additional reporting by Gibran Peshimam in Karachi, Ruma Paul in Dhaka; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Michael Perry)


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