Parts of Delhi sweltered under a heatwave on Monday with the maximum temperature hovering above the 40-degree mark at four places, the India Meteorological Department said.
The Safdarjung Observatory, considered the official marker for the city, recorded a maximum temperature of 38.1 degrees Celsius, five notches above normal. The minimum temperature settled at 19 degrees Celsius.
Though a partly cloudy sky is predicted on Tuesday, no major relief is in sight.
IMD officials said a prolonged dry spell has led to “severe” hot weather conditions in northwest India.
“The heatwave spell is likely to continue over most parts of northwest India and Madhya Pradesh over the next five days and over Gujarat during the next two days.” 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.
Four weather stations in Delhi recorded their maximum temperature above 40 degrees Celsius. The mercury settled at 40.2 degrees Celsius, 40.2 degrees Celsius, 40.6 degrees Celsius degrees and 40.7 degrees Celsius at Ridge, Najafgarh, Pitampura and Sports Complex stations, respectively.
Experts have attributed the hot weather to the lack of rainfall due to dry westerly winds. Delhi recorded nil rainfall in March — for the first time since 2018. Usually, it gets average 15.9 mm of rainfall in the month.
The Safdarjung Observatory had recorded a maximum temperature of 39.6 degrees Celsius on Wednesday last week, the highest this season so far.
The maximum temperature at the base station is likely to touch the 40-degree mark on April 6 and soar to 42 degrees Celsius by April 9, the IMD said.
India recorded its warmest March in 122 years with a severe heatwave scorching large swathes of the country in the month.
The weather department attributed the unusual 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 a rainfall of 8.9 mm, 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.
“Over the country as a whole, the average maximum temperature (33.10 degrees Celsius) recorded in March 2022 is the highest ever in the last 122 years,” the IMD said.
In March 2010, the country had recorded a maximum temperature of 33.09 degrees Celsius.