The intense heatwave, which has scorched Delhi over the past two days, is expected to worsen on Saturday. The India Meteorological Department has already issued an ‘orange alert’ and warned that the mercury might soar to 46-47°C in parts of the National Capital.
Safdarjung Observatory, Delhi’s base station, is expected to record a maximum temperature of 44°C against Friday’s 42.5°C. On Friday, Najafgarh in Delhi recorded a maximum temperature of 46.1°C. The weather stations at Mungeshpur and Jafarpur recorded maximum temperatures of 45.4°C and 45.6°C, respectively, six degrees above normal. Pitampura, which was also reeling under heatwave conditions, recorded a maximum temperature of 44.7°C.
The Met agency has issued a ‘yellow alert’ to caution people about another heatwave on Sunday. The weather bureau issues four colour codes for warnings — green (no action needed), yellow (watch and stay updated), orange (be prepared), and red (take action).
Next week is expected to bring some relief from the intense heat with cloudy skies and thunderstorms bringing down the temperature. This is the National Capital’s fifth heatwave of the summer after one in March and three in April.
Delhi recorded its second-hottest April since 1951 as western disturbances reduced rainfall to almost nil. In the absence of rain, the monthly average maximum temperature was recorded 40.2°C. A heatwave at the month-end sent the mercury soaring to 46-47°C in several parts of the city.
The National Capital received 0.3 mm rainfall in April against a monthly average of 12.2 mm. March also witnessed nil rainfall against a normal of 15.9 mm. The Met department had predicted above-normal temperatures in May.
However, respite is now in sight with the Met department predicting an early arrival of the southwest monsoon. The southwest monsoon is expected to arrive over Kerala on May 27, four days ahead of its normal date of June 1.
If realised, this will be the first time since 2009 that the monsoon would arrive so early.
The Met office declares a heatwave when the maximum temperature passes 40°C and is at least 4.5 notches above normal. A severe heatwave is declared when the departure from normal temperature is over 6.4°. Based on absolute recorded temperatures, the Met office declares a heatwave when an area records a maximum temperature of 45°C. A severe heatwave is declared if the maximum temperature breaches the 47°C mark.