The India Meteorological Department on Monday said that heatwave conditions are likely to prevail over Kerala and Tamil Nadu until March 7. The weather department said maximum temperatures were 1.6 degrees Celsius to 3 degrees Celsius above normal in parts of Kerala on Monday.

The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has warned that maximum temperatures may rise up to 6 degrees above normal in Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts on Tuesday, Manorama Online reported. The authority has asked people living between Thrissur and Kannur to take precautions to combat the heatwave, the daily added.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office said the weather department has predicted a heatwave in Kozhikode district on Tuesday and Wednesday. “The public is requested to follow the instructions issued on this matter,” the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted.

The Chief Minister’s Office had on Sunday appealed to people to avoid the sunshine between 11 am and 3 pm, a plea that was reiterated by the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority on its Facebook page on Monday. “School authorities and parents must take precaution as this is an exam season,” Vijayan’s office had said.

The state labour department has rescheduled working hours, prohibiting outside work between noon and 3 pm, the Hindustan Times reported on Monday.

Cochin University of Science and Technology professor S Abhilash claimed that the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority’s warning was an exaggeration. “The world has warmed up by 1 to 1.5 degrees [Celsius] in the last three decades or so,” he said. “Going by the El Nino possibility and global warming, it can go up to 2 degrees in the state.” El Nino is a phenomenon associated with a band of warm ocean water that develops in the Pacific Ocean, causing changes in global temperature.

Manorama Online reported that parts of Kerala are facing a drought. It said the Banasurasagar reservoir and its catchment areas in Wayanad district have dried up. The reservoir holds just 38% of its water capacity at present, the daily added. Rivers in the Pathanamthitta district have also nearly dried up.