The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted a gradual rise in maximum temperatures in the national capital, but a heat wave is unlikely in the next four to five days.
The Safdarjung Observatory, Delhi’s primary weather station, recorded a minimum temperature of 25.2 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, which is two notches below normal. The maximum temperature settled at 38.4 degrees Celsius, also two degrees below normal.
June began with cooler temperatures in Delhi, thanks to intermittent rains brought by western disturbances. So far this month, the maximum temperature has remained well below 40 degrees Celsius.
The IMD reports that the Safdarjung Observatory has not experienced a heat wave this year, which is the first time since 2014. The below-normal temperatures and excess rainfall during the pre-monsoon season (March to May) can be attributed to higher-than-usual western disturbances originating from the Mediterranean region, causing unseasonal rainfall in northwest India.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of heat waves in the future. The delayed onset of the monsoon over Kerala and the anticipated slow progress beyond the southern peninsula due to Cyclone Biparjoy may lead to above-normal temperatures in many parts of the country, including Delhi, for a longer duration than usual.
Last month, the IMD predicted normal to below-normal monsoon in northwest India, indicating more dry and hot days. Delhi experienced its coolest May in 36 years, with excess rainfall bringing down the average maximum temperature to 36.8 degrees Celsius.
In the previous year’s pre-monsoon season, the Safdarjung Observatory recorded 13 heat wave days, with nine in April and four in May. However, during the same period in 2021, there was only one heat wave day, four in 2020, and one in 2019.
A heat wave is declared when the maximum temperature reaches at least 40 degrees Celsius in the plains, 37 degrees Celsius in coastal areas, and 30 degrees Celsius in hilly regions, with a departure from the normal temperature of at least 4.5 notches.