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What you need to know about the new Heat Index launched by IMD

Photo for representation

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has started issuing a Heat Index for different parts of the country that takes into account the relative humidity in addition to the air temperature to arrive at a more accurate estimate of the heat that people will “actually feel” on a particular day.

In addition to giving the day’s minimum and maximum temperatures IMD has started issuing the heat index on an experimental basis from Friday.

“We are utilising the temperature and humidity data at 2:30 pm for the Heat Index and the forecasts as the maximum temperature occurs at that time,” IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told journalists.

According to environmentalists the heat index will present a more realistic picture of the weather and people can be better prepared in case of heatwave conditions.

They point out that there was no heatwave warning for the Navi Mumbai area of Maharashtra on April 16 as the maximum temperature recorded on that day was only 38 degrees Centigrade. However, since the humidity was very high the real heat that was felt by the people was equivalent to severe heatwave conditions and as a result 14 people died of heatstroke and several fell ill.

The new heat index can help to avert such tragedies in the future as people can take more precautions.