Cold wave

Occurrences of extreme low temperature in association with incursion of dry cold winds from north into the sub continent are known as cold waves.

tte cold waves mainly affect the areas to the north of 20 °N. Cold wave conditions are sometimes reported from States like Maharashtra and Karnataka as well.

tte maximum number of cold waves occur in Jammu and Kashmir followed by Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh (Table 6.1). It may be seen that number of cold waves in Gujarat and Maharashtra are almost one per year though these states are located in a more southern location. In the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the number of deaths from extreme events in the cold weather season during 1978 and 1999 was 957 and 2307 respectively, ttese two states rank the highest in terms of casualties from cold wave. West Madhya Pradesh experienced most frequent cold waves/severe cold waves and highest number of cold waves/severe cold waves days during the decade 1971-80 (Pai et al. 2004). In the first week of January 2000, the deadly cold spell resulted in the death of 363 persons of which 152 were from Uttar Pradesh and 154 were from Bihar (IDWR 2000). Severe cold wave conditions prevailed over most parts ofBihar and adjoining parts of Orissa during December 2001 and claimed around 300 human lives. During the 1st to 3rd weeks of January 2003, the northern states were under the grip of a severe cold wave and in all 900 people died of which 813 were from Uttar Pradesh alone.

Table6.1 NumberofColdWaves

State

Epochs

1901-10

1911-67

1968

-77 1978-99

2000-06*

1901-2006*

West Bengal

2

14

3

28

3

50

Bihar

7

27

8

67

14

123

Uttar Pradesh

21

51

8

47

28

155

Rajasthan

11

124

7

53

28

Saurashtra&

Kutch

2

85

6

6

7

106

Punjab

3

34

4

19

48

108

Himachal Pradesh

-

-

4

18

31

53

Jammu & Kashmir

1

189

6

15

43

254

Maharashtra

-

60

4

18

-

82

Madhya Pradesh

9

88

7

12

24

140

Orissa

4

5

-

-

12

21

Andhra Pradesh

2

-

-

-

-

2

Assam

1

1

-

-

-

Delhi & Chandigarh

-

-

4

15

22

41

Tamil Nadu

-

-

-

-

2

2

Karnataka

-

10

-

-

17

27

Telangana

-

5

1

-

8

14

Rayalaseema

-

3

-

-

3

6

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