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Saturday June 22, 2024

Heatwave likely in Karachi as temperature predicted to soar above 40°C

Chief Meteorologist Sardar Sarfaraz predicts temperature may drop in the first week of June from 35 to 37°C

By Web Desk
May 27, 2024
People drink water from a heatwave relief camp alongside a road during a hot summer day in Karachi on May 23, 2024. —Online
People drink water from a heatwave relief camp alongside a road during a hot summer day in Karachi on May 23, 2024. —Online 

KARACHI: Sardar Sarfaraz, the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) chief meteorologist, Monday forecast that the temperature in Karachi was likely to ascend past 40°C between May 29 and 31 with heatwave expected to takeover. 

The chief meteorologist said that from Wednesday to Friday, the temperature could rise from 40 to 42°C. “Warm and dry winds may blow from the north-west for most of the day, while the sea winds are likely to resume in the evening,” he said.

Sarfaraz predicted the temperature might drop in the first week of June from 35 to 37°C. However, he said, the weather was expected to remain hot and humid throughout the next month.

Weather expert Owais Hyder on Sunday predicted that this week in Karachi could be the "hottest week of the year". He said the mercury could be between 40 to 42°C from Tuesday to Thursday.

“There is a possibility of an increase in heat intensity in the megalopolis next week,” the meteorologist had said.

Amid excessive hot weather, people have been advised to stay indoors and hydrated by consuming adequate amount of liquids to avoid heatstroke.

Extreme heat in the metropolis is often coupled with a deficit in power supply, with some areas experiencing up to 15 hours a day of loadshedding.

Pakistan is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events, which scientists have linked to climate change.

The recent heat spell has gripped the metropolis for the past few weeks and it is forecast to prevail till the first week of June.

Heatstroke

Authorities at both the federal and provincial levels have taken precautions to protect people from the deadly consequences such as heat-related illnesses as chances of an increase in heat-related issues such as heatstroke are likely to impact the population. Heatstroke is considered the most extreme form of heat-related illness with mortality rates ranging from 10% to 80%.

Heatstroke is defined as a body temperature higher than 40.6 degrees Celsius because of environmental heat exposure following which a person normally collapses.

Studies reveal that heatstroke can be avoided by adopting simple preventive measures, but if there is a delay in treatment, the mortality rate of heatstroke can be as high as 80%.

Early diagnosis and cooling may reduce the mortality rate to 10%.

The National Disaster Management Authority and other provincial authorities have issued a heatwave advisory for the general public asking individuals to take immediate necessary measures.

The advisory stated that infants, elderly persons, athletes and outdoor workers are at high risk for heatstroke.

Symptoms of heatstroke

Generally, the symptoms of heatstroke include profuse sweating or the absence of sweating with hot red or flushed dry skin, weakness, lethargy, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, hallucinations, confusion, dizziness and slurred speech.

If one is having any of the symptoms, they should immediately be taken to the nearest healthcare facility.

How to prevent heatstroke?

Heat- or sun-stroke is a preventable condition and the following are some of the common preventive measures that the advisory has shared:

  • Avoid going outside during the hottest time of the day.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity if you can. If you must do strenuous activity, do it during the coolest part of the day, which is usually in the morning between 4am and 7am.
  • Stay in the shade.
  • Do not leave children or animals in parked vehicles.
  • Drink plenty of water and avoid getting dehydrated.
  • Limit time in direct sunlight during hot weather or in places with high environmental temperatures.
  • Refrain from vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather.
  • Persons working under the sun should prevent dehydration and heatstroke by taking time out of the sun and drinking plenty of water/fluids.
  • Patients should avoid the use of caffeine and sugar-containing soft drinks and/or tea, as it may exacerbate dehydration.
  • Consume salty foods, and use an umbrella.
  • Wear hats, light coloured and loose-fitting clothes during the hot/humid environmental conditions.
  • Keep the body cool and hydrated by taking cool showers or baths during a heatwave.
  • Use cold packs and wraps, towels, sponging, and foot baths to keep cool.
  • If you feel dizzy, weak, anxious or have intense thirst and headache during a heatwave, it is best to move to a cool place as soon as possible and measure your body temperature. Drink some water or fruit juice to rehydrate.
  • If you have painful muscular spasms, particularly in the legs, arms or abdomen, rest immediately in a cool place and drink oral rehydration solutions (ORS) containing electrolytes.
  • Medical attention is needed if heat cramps last for more than one hour.
  • Victims of heatstroke must receive immediate treatment/management.