The scorching heat wave intensified in Delhi-NCR on Saturday with the national capital recording a maximum temperature of 42.4 degrees Celsius, the highest in April in five years and 45 degrees in neighboring Gurugram.
The maximum temperature in the capital was recorded at 43.2 degree Celsius on April 21, 2017. The highest ever maximum temperature of the month was recorded on April 29, 1941 at 45.6 °C.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that this is the first time in 72 years that Delhi has recorded such a high temperature in the first half of April.
The Meteorological Department has also issued a warning of severe heat in the city on Sunday.
IMD uses four color codes for weather warnings – green (no action required), yellow (watch and stay updated), orange (be prepared) and red (take action).
The maximum temperature at Delhi’s base station Safdarjung Observatory was 42.4 degrees Celsius, eight degrees above normal for this time of year.
At 44.5 degrees Celsius, Gurugram was 10 degrees warmer than average. Gurugram’s all-time high maximum temperature of 44.8 degrees Celsius was recorded on April 28, 1979.
In Haryana’s Faridabad, the mercury was recorded at 45.2 degrees Celsius.
IMD data showed that except SPS Mayur Vihar, where the maximum temperature was recorded at 40.2 degrees Celsius, all automatic weather stations in the city recorded the maximum temperature above 42 degrees Celsius.
The weather stations at Ridge, Ayanagar, Mungeshpur, Najafgarh, Pitampura and Sports Complex recorded maximum temperatures of 43.9 °C, 43.6 °C, 43 °C, 43.3 °C, 43.4 °C and 43.9 °C, respectively.
IMD said that due to cloudy sky, there may be some respite from the scorching heat from Tuesday.
Heat wave conditions have been prevailing in parts of the national capital for the past one week with the maximum temperature hovering above 40 degrees Celsius.
IMD officials said hot weather conditions in northwest India have turned “severe” due to the prolonged drought.
The Meteorological Department said that Northwest India and adjoining parts of Central India are predicted to see more intense and persistent heatwave conditions in April.
Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change), Skymet Weather, said that it is an aberration that the maximum temperature has crossed the 45 degree mark in some parts of northwest India in the first 10 days of April.
No pre-monsoon activity including dust storm and thundershowers has occurred over the region so far. He said even the long-range models did not predict any significant weather system in the next 15 days.
Palawat said there is a good chance that Delhi may record more heatwave days in April than usual.
He said that the capital has already recorded three heatwave days this month and heat wave conditions are likely to continue for two to three days.
For plains, a ‘heatwave’ is declared when the maximum temperature is more than 40 °C and at least 4.5 °C above normal. According to the IMD, if the departure from normal temperature is more than 6.4 degrees, a ‘severe heat wave’ is declared.
This year, India recorded its hottest March in 122 years, with the country witnessing scorching heat during the month.
The Met department attributed the heat to the absence of an active Western Disturbance over North India and lack of rain due to any major system over South India.
The entire country recorded 8.9 mm of rainfall, which was 71 per cent less than its long period average of 30.4 mm. This was the third lowest rainfall in March since 1901, after 7.2 mm in 1901 and 8.7 mm in 1908.