Average maximum temperature for February was the highest on an all India basis since 1971 this year. While the average maximum temperature for the whole country was 29.54 degree Celsius, it was 31.93 degree Celsius, second highest since 1901 over central India, says India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The March to May period is also going to be hotter than usual, with enhanced probability of occurrence of heatwave over many regions of Central and adjoining Northwest India, IMD's Seasonal outlook for Hot weather season (March to May) 2023 and Monthly Outlook for March 2023 for the Rainfall and Temperature released today says.

Based on IMD's forecast, the health ministry has written to chief secretaries and administrators of all states and Union Territories to be prepared to address heat impact and management of cases arising out of it. The health ministry also called for daily surveillance on health related illnesses under the National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health during the March-May period.

While above normal maximum temperatures are likely over most parts of northeast India, east and central India and some parts of northwest India, above normal minimum temperatures are very likely over most parts of the country except south peninsuslar India during March-May season, IMD says.

The forecast for rainfall in March 2023 suggests it is most likely to be normal (83- 117% of LPA) for the country as a whole. However, below normal rainfall is most likely over most areas of northwest India, west central India and some parts of east & northeast India. The probability for occurrence of heatwave over Central India is low during March 2023.

Meanwhile in a letter to the states and UTs on February 28, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health said that temperatures have already touched unusual high at some parts of the country and substantial deviations from normal temperatures for this time of the year are being some states and districts. From March 1 onwards, daily surveillance on health related illnesses will be conducted on Integrated Health Information Platform, he said. The letter also asked the states to review health facility preparedness for availability of adequate quantities of essential medicines, intravenous fluids, ice packs, ORS and other necessary equipment.

The central government has also released a public health advisory to manage extreme heat wave.

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