The ambitious heat index advisory to be issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) for the summers may not happen this season as some “technical issues” are holding up the project.
Earlier this year, the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences and the IMD had announced they would come out with a city-wise heat advisory, but the work is still in the experimental stages.
Meteorological officials say huge data has to be processed to put out the heat advisory with the help of maps, which has led to the delay.
“We were hoping we could issue the advisory early this summer, but we are yet to collate the necessary data. Our offices in Pune, Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur are working towards it. We are also working with some organisations towards completing the project. Hopefully, we should have it soon,” said B P Yadav, deputy director general IMD, Delhi.
The idea of issuing a specific city-wise heat advisory was mainly to help local governments and civic bodies take precautionary measures in advance and protect people from the heat wave. The meteorological department has called this year the hottest in the century. The death of over 2,300 people due to heat wave across India last year prompted the department to come out with the outlook and specific advisory.
Pune IMD director PCS Rao said they would be giving the advisory through colour coded maps, marking comfortable, uncomfortable and highly comfortable levels which would be updated every three hours.
“The forecast is mainly based on temperature and relative humidity. We are collating data on the same for these maps. If the temperature is high, the colour scheme will show as uncomfortable and if the temperature continues to increase, it will be highly uncomfortable. This will give a basic idea of the intensity of heat,” Rao said.
IMD officials in Pune said that based on these maps, a warning system has been developed by public health organisations, meteorological officials and international non-profit environmental organisations.
In April, the IMD had announced there were also plans to coordinate with local authorities to open cooling centres, building public awareness of heat-related risks, training medical and community workers and coordinating with inter-agency emergency response efforts.
The heat index
The heat index would use three colours — red (highly uncomfortable), orange (uncomfortable), yellow (comfortable) and green (most comfortable). These warnings would be displayed on the IMD website for the area. With weather centres having the necessary data, officials hope they could give details on an hourly basis.