Delhi reeled under a heatwave for the fourth consecutive day on Sunday with the India Meteorological Department predicting similar conditions for the next two days. The Met office has issued an ‘orange’ alert warning of a severe heatwave in the city for Monday.
The IMD uses four colour codes for weather warnings — green (no action needed), yellow (watch and stay updated), orange (be prepared) and red (take action).
The capital has recorded four heatwave days so far in April this year, equalling the number of such days in the month in 2017. For the plains, a ‘heatwave’ is declared when the maximum temperature is over 40 degrees Celsius and at least 4.5 notches above normal. A ‘severe heatwave’ is declared if the departure from normal temperature is more than 6.4 notches, according to the IMD.
The Sports Complex station was the warmest place in the city with a maximum temperature of 44.1 degrees Celsius. The mercury settled above 42 degrees Celsius at most places. The Safdarjung Observatory, considered the official marker for the city, recorded a maximum temperature of 41.8 degrees Celsius, six notches above normal. On Saturday, it had recorded a high of 42.4 degrees Celsius, the highest in April in five years.
It is also the first time in 72 years that Delhi has recorded such a high temperature in the first half of April.
The capital had recorded a maximum temperature of 43.2 degrees Celsius on April 21, 2017. The all-time highest maximum temperature for the month was 45.6 degrees Celsius on April 29, 1941.
Cloudy conditions may bring some relief from the stifling heat from Tuesday, the IMD said.
Parts of the national capital have been reeling under a heatwave since last week with maximum temperatures hovering above 40 degrees Celsius.
IMD officials said a prolonged dry spell has led to “severe” hot weather conditions in northwest India.
The weather department said northwest India and adjoining parts of central India are predicted to see more intense and frequent heatwave conditions in April.
Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (Meteorology And Climate Change), Skymet Weather, said it is an aberration that the maximum temperature has breached the 45-degree mark in parts of northwest India in the first 10 days of April.
There has been nil pre-monsoon activity, including dust storms and thundershowers, in the region so far. Long-range models have also not predicted any significant weather system in the next 15 days, he said.
There is a good chance that Delhi may record a higher-than-usual number of heatwave days in April, Mr Palawat said.
This year, India recorded its warmest March in 122 years with a severe heatwave scorching large swathes of the country during the month.
The weather department attributed the heat to the lack of rainfall due to the absence of active western disturbances over north India and any major system over south India.
The country as a whole recorded 8.9 mm of rainfall, which was 71 per cent less than its long period average rainfall of 30.4 mm. It was also the third-lowest precipitation in March since 1901 after 7.2 mm in 1909 and 8.7 mm in 1908.
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