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June 14, 2019

More hot and humid conditions likely today as Karachi bakes at 42 degrees Celsius


June 14, 2019

Roads remained deserted as people preferred to remain indoors on Thursday because of extremely hot and humid conditions in Karachi, which sizzled at 41.5 degrees Celsius due to suspension of sea breeze, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) officials said and warned of another very hot and humid day in the city today.

“Karachiites experienced a very hot and humid day today (Thursday) when the mercury soared to 41.5 degrees Celsius while more than 50 percent humidity in the early hours of the day made it unbearable for the people. Heat index or the feel-like temperature even soared to 55 degrees Celsius,” an official of the PMD said while talking to The News.

Officials said the Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) Vayu was the cause of the hot and humid conditions in Karachi and the adjoining areas as it was depriving Karachi of the sea breeze.

They added that the hot and humid weather would continue on Friday and Saturday.

“Very hot and humid weather is expected in Karachi on Friday too with the temperature ranging between 40 and 42 degrees Celsius. Humidity would be around 60-70 percent in the morning and around 30-40 percent in the evening, making it very uncomfortable for the people,” a Met Office official said.

Long heatwave spell likely

Some meteorologists said that due to the effects of the tropical cyclone, which was now moving away from the Indian Gujarat coast in the northwest direction and gradually weakening, the sea breeze could remain suspended in Karachi even till Sunday, June 16, while others feared that hot and humid conditions could last till the mid of the next week.

“Cyclone Vayu is now moving away from the Indian coast and it is moving in the northwestwards in the direction of Muscat and Oman coasts very slowly. Under its influence, the sea breeze is expected to remain suspended towards Karachi till Sunday and hot and humid conditions are likely to prevail at least for three to four more days,” said Abdur Rashid, former chief meteorological officer who retired a couple of days back.

The PMD official said the Cyclone Vayu was going to dissipate in the Arabian Sea in the coming few days, but it was not expected to bring any respite to the Karachiites. Instead, he added, it was expected to cause hot and humid conditions in the city with the temperature going as high as 42 degrees Celsius in the days to come.

Heatwave alert issued

Although no patient of heat stroke was reported at any public and private health facility in the city on Thursday, health facilities of the Sindh government as well as those run by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) remained on high alert due to the cyclone warning issued by the Pakistan Meteorological Department, and leaves of all doctors, paramedics and nurses were cancelled.

An official of the Sindh health department said all the leading tertiary-care hospitals, including Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), KM Ruth Pfao Civil Hospital Karachi and Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Trauma Centre, as well as some private health facilities had been put on high alert due to the cyclone warning as well as chances of a severe heatwave in the city.

The senior director health and medical services of the KMC, Dr Birbal Genani, also said all the KMC-run health facilities had been put on high alert and the leaves of medical and paramedical staff cancelled. He added that they were fully prepared to deal with any eventuality in the city.

Commissioner Karachi Iftikhar Shallwani also reviewed arrangements for the implementation of contingency plans made by the Provincial Disaster Management Authority, district administrations, the KMC, the DMCs, the Pakistan Navy, cantonment boards and other departments to cope with the tropical cyclone and the heatwave.

What should be done?

Extremely hot and humid conditions can prove to be lethal for people, especially for children and the elderly, when they venture out in the open sun, health experts said and advised the people not to venture out in the open sun from 10 in the morning till four in the evening while everybody should drink plenty of water.

“The best advice is to remain under the shade as long as possible during extremely hot and humid weather and drink plenty of water. In case of dehydration, people should drink ORS or water having both salt and some sugar mixed in to replace the lost electrolytes,” said Dr Shahid Ahmed, a leading gastroenterologist and physician.

He said people who worked outdoor, including labourers, salesmen and women, as well as children and elderly people, could be more prone to heat stroke. He added that in case of emergency, a person should be given something to drink and taken to the nearest health facility for first aid.