Kerala is bracing for a smelter-like summer ahead, with the day temperature already going up by 4 degrees, according to the Meteorological Department.
At least districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha and Kottayam, are already reeling under heatwave conditions, caused by blowing of hot winds from Tamil Nadu and other states even as the sea breeze from the Arabian Sea has weakened.
Technically, February is part of the year when winter conditions, to the extent in Kerala, persist at least in the morning. But summer seems to have forced an early entry, with some of the districts suffering serious water shortage and rising day temperatures.
The summer weather pattern seems to be changing, with the state recording unusually high temperature much in advance of summer beginning to bite in the rest of India. Unseasonal rains and flash floods complete the scene, with the state witnessing some of the worst natural calamities in recent years.
February has already seen maximum temperatures going well past the 30-degrees-Celsius mark at many places in the State. In some districts, the temperature has hit 36 degrees. On January 25, Alappuzha recorded a maximum temperature of 37.3°C, breaking the previous record of 36.7°C reported on January 29, 1998.
Similarly, Kottayam district recorded 37 degrees on three consecutive days in the last week of January. The previous highest for the district was 36.6 degree in 2007. Kannur also has clocked 36.8 degrees breaking the previous record of 36.7°C in January 1991.
The state labour department has adjusted work timings to limit exposure to the strong sun, banning outdoor work between 12 noon and 3 pm. The State Disaster Management Authority has also stepped in, advising pregnant women, elderly people and children to avoid direct sunlight in the peak time and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
In complete contrast to the heatwave conditions in the rest of the state, Munnar in the high ranges has been experiencing snow, with the tourist destination recording sub-zero temperatures in many parts. The valleys and grasslands covered in white snow present a breath-taking picture, which is attracting a heavy rush of tourists to the area.
Though the cold spell is a great attraction for tourists and sightseers, the accompanying heavy frost is causing serious damage to the tea plantations.