New Delhi: The heatwave conditions are likely to continue in the national capital, which is reeling under the scorching heat for the past few days, with the maximum temperature expected to settle around 43 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. A minimum temperature of 29.8 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal, was recorded in Delhi on Tuesday morning, while the relative humidity stood at 38 per cent at 8.30 am. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has also forecast a generally cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle later in the day.
The mercury breached the 46-degree mark in parts of the city on Monday with the peak power demand soaring to 6,532 MW, the highest so far this season. The city had recorded a peak power demand of 7,695 MW last summer and it might reach 8,100 MW this year, officials said.
Delhi’s primary weather station, Safdarjung Observatory, recorded a maximum temperature of 43.7 degrees Celsius — four notches above normal and the maximum so far this year. The mercury rose to 46.2 degrees Celsius at Najafgarh, making it the hottest place in the national capital. Narela (45.3 degrees Celsius), Pitampura (45.8 degrees Celsius) and Pusa (45.8 degrees Celsius) also recorded heatwave conditions.
According to the IMD, similar conditions are likely to continue before rains bring some relief from Wednesday. The met department said a western disturbance active over the western Himalayan region is predicted to bring rain, hailstorm, and gusty winds in the northwestern plains starting Wednesday and as a result, the maximum temperature is expected to drop to 36 degrees Celsius by Thursday.
Heatwaves becoming more frequent, severe
Heatwaves in India are becoming more frequent and severe due to climate change, with over 90 per cent of the country in the ‘extremely cautious’ category or ‘danger zone’ of their impacts, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Cambridge. The study revealed that Delhi is particularly vulnerable to severe heatwave impacts, despite its recent state action plan for climate change failing to reflect this fact.
April’s record-breaking heatwave in Bangladesh, India, Laos, and Thailand was made at least 30 times more likely by human-caused climate change, according to an analysis conducted by a group of leading climate scientists.
Delhi experienced a long spell of cloudy weather and sporadic rainfall from April 21 to May 7, which is rare during this time of the year. Officials had attributed this to the back-to-back western disturbances, and weather systems that originate in the Mediterranean region and bring unseasonal rainfall to northwest India.
According to IMD data, the Safdarjung Observatory recorded over 60 mm of rainfall in May, while on average, the capital logs 19.7 mm of rainfall in the whole month. The city also recorded more than 20 mm of rainfall in April, the highest in the month since 2017.
This year, India experienced its hottest February since record-keeping began in 1901. However, above-normal rainfall in March kept temperatures in check. March last year was the warmest ever and the third driest in 121 years. As per IMD data, India saw a 24 per cent increase in the number of heatwaves during 2010-2019 compared to 2000-2009.
(With inputs from agencies)
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