According to India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Heat Waves are defined as periods of abnormally high temperatures and usually occur between March and June.
May is India’s hottest month, with thermometers reaching a maximum of 104F (41C) in New Delhi.
The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has given the following criteria for Heat Waves :
Heat Wave need not be considered till maximum temperature of a station reaches atleast 40C for Plains and at least 30C for Hilly regions
When normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 5C to 6C Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 7C or more
When normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 4C to 5C Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 6C or more
When actual maximum temperature remains 45C or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature, heat waves should be declared. Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change. India too is feeling the impact of climate change in terms of increased instances of heat waves which are more intense in nature with each passing year, and have a devastating impact on human health thereby increasing the number of heat wave casualties.
Longer, more severe heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally.
Intense heat can cause cramps, exhaustion and heat stroke.
Thousands of people died across India during heat waves in 2002 and 2003.
In 2010, nearly 300 people were killed by intense temperatures, according to media reports from the time.
In May 2015, the death toll in the heat wave sweeping India has passed 1,000, with temperatures nearing 122F (50C) in some areas.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard fell flat on her face when her heel became stuck in the grass in India.
Julia Gillard was on a goodwill visit to India when she took the tumble in what was her third faux pas involving her shoes this year.
She famously lost a blue suede shoe during an Aboriginal demonstration in Canberra in January and just two months ago she slipped out of one of her high heels while walking on stage at a function at Sydney’s Custom House.
Now she’s gone down again, this time following a visit to the Gandhi Memorial in New Delhi on the final day of her three-day state visit to India.
Julia Gillard was being escorted to the Presidential Palace by a group of officials when she suddenly fell forward heavily onto the grass, landing on her hands and knees.
As aides turned to help her up she told them: “I’m fine. My heel got stuck in grass.”
Julia Gillard fell flat on her face when her heel became stuck in the grass
Later she laughed off the incident, explaining that unlike men who wore flat shoes, it was an occupational hazard for women wearing modest heels.
“I’m fine,” she repeated.
“For men who get to wear flat shoes all day every day, if you wear a heel it can get embedded in soft grass and when you pull your foot out the shoe doesn’t come and the rest of it is as you saw.”
When someone suggested that perhaps she could wear boots to prevent similar mishaps she brushed the idea aside.
That, she said, would lead to all kinds of fashion critiques in Australia where she would be faulted for wearing boots with a skirt.
Of the three shoe incidents she has been involved in this year, the tumble in Delhi was the most spectacular.
But as drama goes, the day Julia Gillard was surrounded by angry protesters in Canberra was the most frightening, with minders whisking her away from the shouting.
Behind her she left that blue sued shoe which some demonstrators threatened to sell on eBay – before it was returned to her.
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