Delhiites on Friday suffered the double whammy of sweltering heat and high humidity, making it one of the most oppressive days of this summer. The mercury touched 42 degrees celsius, seven notches above normal, making the conditions qualify as a ‘severe heat wave’. This is only the sixth year since 1969 when the maximum has touched 42 degrees in July.
Palam was even hotter at 44 degrees celsius. And, the weekend may be worse, with the Met office saying the heat is likely to intensify. Rain is expected only by the middle of next week although Sunday evening may turn cloudy.
The severe heat is a direct consequence of rains going missing in northwest India. Monsoon broke over the capital on July 3 and after a brief presence, vanished without a sign. Delhi has recorded just 12.1mm rain so far month against a normal of 56.5mm for this period. “There has been an absence of low pressure systems over Bay of Bengal that would feed the southwest Monsoon. Several parts of the northwest India are reeling under a heatwave and have recorded below normal rain,” said a Met official.
A Met official said heat waves in July, such as the one being currently witnessed, usually occur in rainfall deficit years.
“With clear skies and no rain, temperature has been rising steadily and Delhi has been in the grip of a heatwave in the past couple of days,” said sources. The Indian Meteorological Department said heat wave to severe heatwave conditions have been prevailing over parts of east Rajasthan, south Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi while heat wave conditions have been recorded in parts of west Rajasthan, northwest Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
M Duraisamy of the Delhi’s Regional Meteorological Centre said heatwave conditions would continue over parts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Delhi till July 13.
“Monsoon activity is shifting towards central India and some parts of the northwest plains by the middle of the next week. It will be active over the southern peninsula till Tuesday or Wednesday and active along the west coast and foothills of the Himalayas and many parts of east and northeast India on several days during the week. However, monsoon activity will weaken over the western parts of the country for the next two weeks,” said B P Yadav, director, IMD.
The system has been quite sluggish over the country in the past week, with the exception of east and northeast India where the monsoon was near normal. From June 1, when monsoon is to officially break over Kerala, to July 11, the country has witnessed a rain deficit of 43%. Central India has been the worst affected with a deficit of 63% while the shortfall in northwest India stand at a high 46%.