India's Heatwave Longest Ever, Worse to Come

(FILES) In this photo taken on May 24, 2024, villagers carry water pots in Shahapur district of India's Maharashtra state, amid ongoing heatwave. (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)
(FILES) In this photo taken on May 24, 2024, villagers carry water pots in Shahapur district of India's Maharashtra state, amid ongoing heatwave. (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)
TT

India's Heatwave Longest Ever, Worse to Come

(FILES) In this photo taken on May 24, 2024, villagers carry water pots in Shahapur district of India's Maharashtra state, amid ongoing heatwave. (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)
(FILES) In this photo taken on May 24, 2024, villagers carry water pots in Shahapur district of India's Maharashtra state, amid ongoing heatwave. (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)

India's heatwave is the longest ever to hit the country, the government's top weather expert said Monday as he warned people will face increasingly oppressive temperatures.
Parts of northern India have been gripped by a heatwave since mid-May, with temperatures soaring over 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit), said AFP.
"This has been the longest spell because it has been experienced for about 24 days in different parts of the country," the head of India's Meteorological Department (IMD), Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, said in an interview with the Indian Express daily.
The mercury is expected to fall as the annual monsoon rains move north this month, but Mohapatra cautioned worse will follow.
"Heatwaves will be more frequent, durable and intense, if precautionary or preventive measures are not taken," he said.
India is the world's third-biggest emitter of greenhouse gases but has committed to achieve a net zero emissions economy by 2070 -- two decades after most of the industrialized West.
For now, it is overwhelmingly reliant on coal for power generation.
"Human activities, increasing population, industrialization and transport mechanisms are leading to increased concentration of carbon monoxide, methane and chlorocarbons," Mohapatra said.
"We are endangering not only ourselves, but also our future generations."
Scientific research shows climate change is causing heat waves to become longer, more frequent and more intense.
The latest heatwave has seen temperatures in New Delhi match the capital's previous record high: 49.2C (120.5F) clocked in 2022.
As people sought relief from the scorching temperatures, the electricity grid groaned under a record peak power demand of 8,302 megawatts.
On May 29, an automatic weather station in the Delhi suburb of Mungeshpur recorded a high of 52.9C (127.2F), but the temperature was the result of a faulty sensor.
Elsewhere in Delhi, 17 other city stations hit a maximum of 49C (120.2F) the same day.
"We constituted an expert committee, which observed readings for the next two days and found there were problems with the sensor," Mohapatra said.
While the IMB had raised its concerns about the recording within hours, Mohapatra confirmed for the first time that the sensor was faulty.
"We inspect the AWS (automatic weather stations) every six months," he said.
"But in between a bird or a monkey can disturb it".



Several Missing in Landslide in Swiss Alps as Heavy Rains Cause Flash Floods

People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons. - The AP
People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons. - The AP
TT

Several Missing in Landslide in Swiss Alps as Heavy Rains Cause Flash Floods

People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons. - The AP
People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons. - The AP

Three people were missing on Saturday after massive thunderstorms and rainfall in southeastern Switzerland caused a landslide, authorities said.

One woman was pulled out alive after being buried by the landslide in the Alpine valley of Misox in Graubünden. A rescue operation for the three others is ongoing.

The rockslide hit a group of houses in the municipality of Lostallo. Rescuers have been searching all day Saturday with excavators and specially-trained search dogs. William Kloter from the Swiss police, who is heading the rescue operations, told local media that he was hoping to find the three missing persons alive.

Swiss President Viola Amherd said she was shocked by the scale of the damage caused by severe weather, The AP reported.

“My thoughts are with those affected. I thank the emergency personnel for their tireless efforts in this difficult situation,” Amherd said on X.

Elsewhere in Switzerland, the popular tourist destination of Zermatt in the southern canton of Valais near the iconic Matterhorn mountain remains inaccessible. Heavy rains and melting snow have caused the Mattervispa River to overflow, cutting off the village.

Dramatic videos showed the otherwise small river that flows through Zermatt turning into a muddy flash flood, partially submerging streets in the popular ski resort.

The Matterhorn-Gotthard Railway halted operations with no alternative transportation available, the railway company announced on social media on Saturday morning.

Emergency services in the canton of Valais were on high alert over the levels of the Rhone River, which reached its peak on Saturday. Authorities there evacuated 230 residents on Saturday, with the municipality of Chippis particularly affected, as it is situated on the left bank of the Rhone River.

Authorities have warned residents to avoid lower parts of their houses, including cellars, stay away from swelling rivers and refrain from parking on bridges. People were also advised against filming or photographing the floods for safety reasons.