Published on March 17, 2021

AHMEDABAD: Many Amdavadis did not feel the need to wear the sweater or drape themselves in the shawls this winter – the reason was apparent, the average maximum temperature for the city remained around 30 degrees Celsius and the minimum around 10 degrees Celsius, resulting in pleasant, but seldom cold weather.

“The Gujarat region – minus Saurashtra and Kutch – this winter did not record any cold wave against four to five during the season,” said Manorama Mohanty, in-charge of India Meteorological Department (IMD) in Gujarat. “Saurashtra and Kutch recorded about three to four cold waves from November 2020 to February 2021.”

Cold waves signify the sudden drop in temperature along with chilly winds, said IMD officials. Ahmedabad, in fact, recorded a maximum temperature of 34.3 degrees Celsius on December 9, 2020 — the highest temperature recorded in the month in the past five years which was a good 2.9 degrees higher than the average temperature for the day.

Why Gujarat did not feel the cold this season? A senior IMD official explained that the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea witnessed multiple cyclones during the winter season this year. Cyclones Gati, Nivar and Burevi were experienced on the Indian coast to varying degrees of severity. “The chill sets in Gujarat once the wind direction becomes northerly. Due to the cyclones, the wind direction took more than usual time to be aligned naturally to the north,” said the official.

The phenomenon was however felt across India – according to IMD data, the highest minimum temperature in India in January this year was 21.9 degrees, the warmest in the past 62 years. Central India which includes Gujarat was the warmest in 38 years with average minimum temperature of 14.8 degrees Celsius.

State now stares at a harsher summer season. “Based on statistical models, the temperature is all set to be above normal over the region. Saurashtra and Kutch region might record higher temperature rise at 0.06 degrees Celsius compared to forecast of 0.04 degrees Celsius in Gujarat region,” said Mohanty, adding that the forecast is based on long-term average, and thus even a small rise can have significant impact.

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