The final days of April saw further unbearable temperatures recorded in India and Pakistan. Temperatures peaked at 49C in Jacobabad, Pakistan on 30 April, with a high of 47.2C observed in Banda, India. The Indian Meteorological Department confirmed that average temperatures in April were the highest for northern and central parts of the country since records began over 100 years ago.
Heatwaves are a common occurrence at this time of year in India and Pakistan, but scientists believe the intensity, duration and arrival time of the conditions witnessed so far this year are caused by rising global temperatures. Despite a slight respite in the extreme heat over the past few days, temperatures are set to intensify once more this weekend and into next week with maximum temperatures expected to approach 50C in parts of north-west India and Pakistan.
In stark contrast to intense heat across northern India and Pakistan, tropical parts of south-east Asia have seen unusually low temperatures for the time of year. On 2 May, the Hong Kong Observatory reached 16.4C. This was the lowest May temperature recorded since 1917, and broke the previous record set in 2013. The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou observed a temperature of just 13.7C on the same day, the lowest temperature ever recorded during May. On 4 May, a minimum temperature of 13.6C was also recorded in the Umphang district, Thailand. This is the lowest temperature ever recorded in May in Thailand.
The cool weather was a result of a north-east monsoon and unsettled conditions, but these low temperatures won’t come as any consolation to northern India and Pakistan with dangerous temperatures expected to return over the coming days.
Meanwhile, Australia has seen its first cold outbreak of the year after the seventh warmest April on record. A cold front brought a significant drop in temperature to south-eastern parts of the country on Wednesday with temperatures 4-8C below the average for parts of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. Heavy rain and strong winds affected Tasmania on Thursday and Friday thanks to a deep area of low pressure. Referred to as an “east coast low” by meteorologists, these features occur several times a year and can bring some of the most destructive weather conditions, including heavy rain, strong winds and flash flooding.