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June 4, 2017

Another heatwave likely this month


June 4, 2017

The Met Office said on Saturday that Karachi had endured a mild heatwave in the first week of Ramazan, and warned that a similar spell could hit the city later this month.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) told The News that the metropolis had experienced heatwave-like conditions due to formation of a low pressure area in the Arabian Sea that not only weakened the sea breeze to the city but also rose the temperature and humidity.

“The low pressure area, some 600 kilometres away from Karachi’s coast, has now started moving towards Oman. From tomorrow (Sunday), sea breeze towards Karachi would resume and the temperature will start falling one degree Celsius a day,” said PMD chief Dr Ghulam Rasool.

Around 2,000 people had died in the 2015 heatwave in the metropolis when a low pressure area in the Arabian Sea near the city’s coast had cut off sea breeze to the city, drawing hot winds from the plains of the country and increasing the temperature and humidity.

Karachi’s temperature will drop in the next few days after the low pressure area relocates to Oman’s coast, but the Met Office warned that more of such depressions and low pressure areas would be forming this month and cause heatwave-like conditions here.

The PMD official warned that in case a strong depression or low pressure area formed in the Arabian Sea near Karachi’s coast were to remain stationary for a few days, it could cause severe heatwave-like conditions in the city.

He said the temperature in the Arabian Sea was on the rise and, therefore, the chances of more of such weather phenomena in the metropolis were very high.

Dr Rasool said his department had issued a three-day (June 3 to 5) mild heatwave warning for Karachi, with high humidity ranging between 75 and 85 per cent in the morning and between 55 and 65 per cent in the evening, adding that such conditions would be very tough for the elderly and the asthmatic.

“The temperature is expected to drop in Karachi from Sunday, but due to high levels of humidity, discomfort will be very high and weather conditions will be very tough for some people, especially the elderly.”

However, said the Met official, the weather conditions would improve in a few days and the temperature would settle in the range of 33 and 34 degrees Celsius once the low pressure area in the Arabian Sea fully dissipated.

Heatwave camps

Several public and private organisations set up heatwave camps in various parts of the metropolis after the temperature and humidity level increased to create heatwave-like conditions during Ramazan.

Health experts said the severity of the hot weather increased manifold in the holy month, particularly for the people who fast, while the absence of electricity compounded their miseries, especially for those living in congested flats.

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