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Karachi

October 12, 2017

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With mercury at 42°C, city warned of more hot days ahead

Karachi sizzled at 42 degrees Celsius on the second consecutive day on Wednesday after the sea breeze that cools down the coastal city completely stopped, while weather pundits warned of another extremely hot and dry day for the metropolis on Thursday.

“Karachiites would have to endure another hot and dry day tomorrow [on Thursday], as we are expecting the mercury to touch 42 degrees Celsius on Thursday as well,” Met Office Karachi Director Abdur Rashid told The News, saying that the temperature would start dropping on Friday, although it would also be a very hot and dry day.

According to him, suspension of sea breeze to Karachi at the start of the current week resulted in an increase in the city’s daytime temperature, and the mercury touched 41.8 degrees Celsius on Tuesday and 41.5 degrees Celsius on Wednesday due to change in the wind direction.

At the moment, hot and dry winds from the plains of the country are moving towards Karachi and are increasing the city’s temperature, and this situation is likely to continue until Friday, said Rashid, adding that the daytime temperature in the city was expected to remain between 41 and 42 degrees Celsius on Thursday, and between 38 and 39 degrees Celsius on Friday.

“Respite from extremely hot and dry conditions would be seen on Saturday, when the sea breeze is expected to resume in Karachi, lowering the daytime temperature in the city.”

The Met Office chief urged people to stay indoors from noon to afternoon on Thursday and Friday, keep young children and the elderly hydrated, and avoid working under the sun for a long time, saying that there were no heatwave-like conditions but extra sun exposure could result in dehydration and related complications.

He also urged the health authorities to stay vigilant and make arrangements for dealing with the extremely hot and dry conditions, as many citizens, especially the elderly, the homeless and children, could face a lot of problems due to the hot and dry conditions because they were not used to such kinds of weather.

Hospitals, however, are already on high alert since the last week after the Pakistan Meteorological Department had predicted a week-long episode of hot and dry weather in Karachi. Many hospitals reserved extra beds, medicines and supplies in case of any emergency or heatwave-like situation in the city.

As many as 3,000 people were killed and thousands hospitalised in Karachi in June 2015 due to a deadly heatwave when the sea breeze to the city was suspended and the mercury touched 46 degrees Celsius, while majority of the people were fasting because of Ramazan.

“Although the situation in Karachi is a lot better at the moment as compared to June 2015, when people were fasting and there were long spells of power outages coupled with water shortages, we still need to remain vigilant because the temperature is very high these days, which is quite unusual for Karachiites,” said the Met Office chief.

Weather and climate change experts have already warned of extreme weather conditions in Pakistan due to changing climatic conditions, saying that heatwaves, heavy torrential rains and other erratic weather events could be observed more frequently in the country in the coming months and years.

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