Bengaluru: Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir and Nainital in Uttarakand were all warmer than Bengaluru on Friday, when the city broke the record of the coldest summer day in 50 years, the local weather officer said, even as large parts of India battle heat wave conditions. The reason: the after-effect of cyclone Asani.
The sudden change of weather in Bengaluru has forced people to pull out sweaters. On Friday, the city recorded a maximum temperature of 23 degrees Celisus as compared to 26.6 in Shimla, 24.3 in Pahalgam, 25.1 in Nainital and 24.8 in Mahabaleshwar, India Meteorological Department (IMD) Bengaluru tweeted.
According to IMD Bengaluru, the day temperature was 11 degrees below normal for this time of the year. The last time the city recorded a colder day during the month of May was on May 14, 1972, when the temperature stood at 22.2 degrees Celsius.
A senior IMD official attributed the sudden fall in Bengaluru temperatures to the impact of cyclone Asani, which brought rain to Karnataka, and coastal Andhra and Tamil Nadu.
“In the last 54 years, the lowest maximum temperature recorded (digitalised records are available only for 54 years) was 22.2 degrees Celsius. This May, on May 11, we recorded a temperature of 24.4 degrees Celsius and it dropped further on Thursday, and on Friday the maximum temperature reported was 23 degrees Celsius. This is because of cyclone Asani,” said Geeta Agnihotri, director, IMD Bengaluru.
She explained that the cloud mass created by cyclone Asani engulfed all of Karnataka and neighbouring states. “The expanse of the cloud mass is really vast and not just in Karnataka. Because of this system, there was heavy rain, particularly in Bengaluru and subsequently, the temperatures dropped,” she added.
Data show that the drop in temperature began on May 8 and has continued. According to IMD officials, the weather pattern will change over the next few days. “The weather system began organising itself over the South Andaman sea from May 7. On May 8 morning there was a cyclonic storm and it moved westward. From a cyclone it has now become a low-pressure area, so the effect over Bengaluru will remain for two to three days, during which the city may see some light sunlight,” said Agnihotri, adding that the temperature in the city will be close to normal, meaning much warmer, next week.
B Puttanna, a former director of IMD said that the city has not witnessed such low temperatures in summer months for many decades. “ But of course, there is a special case where there was a cyclone. If this weather pattern continues till the onset of monsoon, this could be one of the shortest summers, in terms of bright sun, the city has seen as well,” he said.
HT reported on Friday that the IMD estimates that the Southwest monsoon will arrive earlier than its expected date of 1 June, in Kerala, and then begin its journey across India.
Summer cyclones in the Bay of Bengal are rare although their frequency has increased in recent years, according to the Pune based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM). The Bay of Bengal is known for devastating cyclones in the post-monsoon period. “Because of rising surface temperature of Bay of Bengal due to climate change the frequency of summer cyclones is rising,” said Roxy Mathew Koll, a climate scientist with IITM.
Cyclone Asani also delayed the onset of the latest of a series of heatwaves in central and northwestern India as it brought strong winds from Bay of Bengal cooling down surface temperature. However, with impact of the cyclone over, the temperatures have started to rise again. On Friday, Delhi’s maximum temperature was 45.4 degrees Celsius with several places in western Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh recording maximum temperatures more than 46 degrees Celsius.
Bengaluru was another story.