Heatwave warning scaled up to ‘red’ alert in Delhi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Heatwave warning scaled up to ‘red’ alert in Delhi

By, New Delhi
Jun 17, 2024 04:56 AM IST

Delhi faces third warm night, eighth heatwave day, and 35th day above 40°C. Red alert issued by Met office. Relief expected with thunderstorm on Thursday.

Weather stations in the Capital recorded the third consecutive warm night, the eighth heatwave day in a row, and the 35th day since the peak temperature last went below 40°C as an unusually hot and dry summer tightened its grip, smothering the metropolis and adjoining regions in conditions for which the Met office issued a red alert.

Vendors take rest in the shade of a tree on a hot summer day in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)
Vendors take rest in the shade of a tree on a hot summer day in New Delhi on Sunday. (PTI)

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted no relief for the beginning of the week and issued a red alert for Monday, which warned of “very high likelihood of developing heat illness and heat stroke in all ages” if people did not take precautions to limit their exposure.

It is only on Thursday that some relief may arrive in the form of thunderstorm and light rain from an approaching western disturbance.

An IMD official said Delhi is recording strong, but dry westerly to northwesterly winds, with partially cloudy skies at night. “At night, when we normally see respite from the heat, we are still seeing these westerly winds prevail. We also have some cloudiness, which traps that heat,” said the official, forecasting a drop in maximum to only by June 20.

Also Read | IMD alerts: Heatwave to persist in north India, heavy rainfall in select states

These conditions come a little over a fortnight before the monsoon rains are expected to arrive, although the system has — as it often does — stalled. The monsoon has not progressed since June 11, according to bulletins issued by IMD, having reached parts of central India.

On Sunday, Safdarjung, representative of Delhi’s weather, recorded a maximum temperature of 44.9°C on Sunday, six degrees above normal for this time of the year. It was 44.6°C a day earlier. Delhi’s minimum was recorded at 33.2°C, which was also six degrees above normal.

Sunday was the third consecutive day a “warm night” was recorded. IMD classifies it as a warm night when the maximum temperature is over 40°C and the minimum temperature is 4.5°C or more above normal. A heatwave is when the maximum is over 40°C, while also being 4.5°C or more above normal.

Among all NCR stations, Pitampura in northwest Delhi recorded the highest maximum, at 47.3°C. It also had the highest minimum, at 35.7°C.

IMD has forecast Delhi’s maximum to hover around 44-45°C till Wednesday, before dipping to 42°C on Thursday. Delhi’s minimum may rise even further in the next few days though, with the approaching western disturbance likely to increase cloudiness further, particularly at night-time.

“The minimum could touch 35°C in the next three days,” said the IMD official.

The day’s Heat Index (HI) or “real feel” was 46°C after factoring in humidity to give an indication of how the temperature really feels outside. Delhi’s relative humidity was between 19 and 47% in the last 24 hours. Delhi’s wet-bulb temperature, another indicator of the comfort level outside, was between 24.5°C and 26.5°C on Sunday. A wet-bulb temperature of 32°C or higher makes it difficult for even fit and acclimatised people to work outdoors for long and at a wet-bulb temperature of 35°C — the maximum threshold — humans can no longer regulate body temperatures, leading to a heatstroke and potential collapse.

A second expert said between June 20 and June 23, there may be marginally less heat. “Thereafter easterly winds may penetrate the region and monsoon may reach Delhi and neighbouring areas around June 27,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president of climate and meteorology at Skymet Weather.

Elsewhere, IMD said isolated to scattered light to moderate rainfall with thunderstorms, lightning and gusty winds of 40-60 kph is very likely over Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Chhattisgarh for the next five days.

The northern limit of the monsoon has passed through Navsari, Jalgaon, Amravati, Chandrapur, Bijapur, Sukma, Malkangiri, Vizianagaram and Islampur.

(With inputs from Jayashree Nandi)

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