Hotter days lie ahead
Farmers planning to sow their paddy on time and those expecting some respite from the scorching heat are both likely to be disappointed as this year´s monsoon is expected to arrive some five days late, meteorologists have predicted. In contrast to last year´s above normal rainfall, below normal or near normal rainfall is likely to be recorded in Nepal this monsoon, predictions show.
“The rainfall will probably be below normal to nearly normal during the 2014 summer monsoon season from June to September,” said Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD) Spokesperson Shiva Nepal.
He added that the hill areas of the Far Western and Eastern Development Regions are mostly likely to receive below normal rainfall, with other areas receiving just near to normal. A total precipitation of 1,400 mm during the three-month period is considered a normal monsoon in Nepal.
The predictions are based on the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF-5) held in Pune, India in April, Nepal added. SASCOF has been held every year since 2010 with the participation of meteorologists from the eighth countries of the region, to forecast the monsoon.
The forum this year has forecast below-normal rainfall over broad areas of the western, central and southwestern parts of South Asia and some areas in the northeastern-most parts of the region.
Likewise, normal rainfall is likely over broad areas of the northwestern and eastern parts and some island areas in the southernmost parts, a joint statement of SASCOF-5 reads.
According to MFD official Nepal, the weather phenomena La Nina and El Nino are important for the forecast as they also determine rainfall in the South Asian region during the monsoon.
“This region receives good rainfall during a La Nina year whereas the monsoon remains comparatively passive during El Nino years,” Nepal said, adding that the forecast is for an El Nino this time.
Mercury to climb, Terai in travail
With the maximum temperature recorded at 32 degrees Celsius in the capital on Tuesday, weather experts forecast that the mercury is likely to go up further in coming days.
“There is the least possibility of thundershowers bringing respite from the heat in most places including Kathmandu,” MFD Spokesperson Nepal said. The temperature is likely to exceed 33 degrees Celsius, the highest recorded in 2013, he added.
The weather report displayed by Everest Bank at a few places in the capital showed that Kathmandu had a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius on Monday. People were shocked. MFD had recorded only 31.5 degrees that day. According to MFD officials, those displaying the weather reports have been directed to discontinue them, as most of them were inaccurate.
Meanwhile, life is nearly out of gear in the terai districts, with the maximum temperature reaching 40 degrees Celsius. Hardest hit are people who are unable to afford coolers and fans. In addition, lack of health awareness has triggered a remarkable surge in the number of people visiting hospitals.
Republica correspondent Arjun Oli reports from Nepalgunj that nausea, headache and diarrhea have become common. Daily-wage earners are the most affected as they need to work over eight hours a day to make a living. Similarly, those queuing up at hospitals are mostly small children and the elderly.
According to another correspondent, Madan Thakur in Rautahat, the district hospital is seeing over 18 cases of diarrhea alone every day. A month ago, the number was just one or two. The hot summer is giving a tough time to everyone, including school children, laborers, housewives, shopkeepers.
Noticeably, housemaids have changed their working hours. Instead of 8 a.m. till evening, their hours now are 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and a second shift from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Many others are keeping similar hours as well.
Thakur reports that public transport vehicles and government and private offices slow down during daytime when few service seekers turn up. The scorching heat has been drawing a huge number of people to the district hospital.
Common among the problems are jaundice, diarrhea and snakebite. Even snakes are affected by the heat and are commonly seen in areas of human habitation in search of a better place to hide. And this makes people vulnerable to snakebite. Meanwhile, the district hospital in Gaur lacks medicine for snakebite, Thakur reports.