Delhiites once again found themselves at the mercy of unpredictable weather patterns as the recent unseasonal rainfall and a sudden drop in temperature left them surprised.
To help understand the matter, Patriot spoke to Kuldeep Shrivastava, Head of Regional Weather Forecast Centre, Indian Meteorological Department.
In an exclusive interview, Shrivastava explained the reasons behind unpredictable weather conditions in regions like Delhi, Himalayas, and north-west India.
He also discussed the impact of climate change on India’s extreme weather events and what Delhiites could expect for the coming heatwave in May.
Q: What are the reasons behind the sudden unpredictable weather in Delhi?
A: See, this unpredictable weather is mainly due to western disturbances. The first western disturbance occurred in late April, around 25th, while the second western disturbance happened around May 1. A third western disturbance occurred around May 7. That’s why we see unpredictable weather in Delhi, western Himalayas and north-west India.
Q: Is this likely to continue?
A: Yes, another western disturbance is expected to arrive around May 12. Its impact will first be seen in western India. It will most likely cause rainfall on May 13 in Delhi. The rainfall will last for 2-3 days.
Q: What is a western disturbance?
A: Western disturbance is the extra-tropical storm that originates in the Mediterranean region bringing sudden winter rain to the north-western parts of the Indian sub-continent. The rain that happened recently is a non-monsoonal rainfall driven by the westerlies. It usually occurs first in the northern states like Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and then, is witnessed in the Delhi-NCR region.
Q: At some places, it even got foggy. Why?
A: The temperature dips due to rainfall and other weather conditions caused by western disturbances. Yes, the fog was unprecedented. It happened because of heavy rainfall, low temperature, and low wind speed. In such a situation (when these three combine), the formation of fog is common. But yes, it is rare to see foggy weather in May.
Q: India is witnessing more and more extreme weather events. Could climate change be a reason behind this?
A: Yes, we are witnessing a rise in temperature across the globe. This is true for India as well. Because of this, extreme weather events like unseasonal rainfall and sudden rise in temperature are taking place. The rise in temperature in India and the world is causing such extreme weather events. Though one can’t specify for a small region like Delhi, these climatic events and their impact are witnessed and studied in broader regions. It is very difficult to pinpoint the impact of climate change on Delhi specifically.
Q: In 2022, New Delhi witnessed a severe heatwave. What is the heatwave prediction for this year, especially in May? How high could the temperature rise?
A: See, mostly we forecast for the next seven days. Seeing the current pattern, in the coming days, the temperature could rise to 44°C-46°C in Delhi.
Q: What is the weather forecast for the next week (9-15 May)?
A: Over the next week, the temperature is certainly going to rise by about 5-6°C. However, Delhiites can expect some relief on May 13 due to western disturbance. Thus, on May 13, Delhi could witness cloudy weather and rainfall. Similar weather conditions are likely to prevail in neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. In fact, the impact of western disturbances is seen earlier in north Indian states like Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Uttarakhand. Following that, it will reach Delhi. Thus, Delhi is likely to get relief from the rising heat on May 13.
Q: Any weather-related advisory for Delhiites?
A: The temperature is not expected to go very high in the coming few days. However, when it goes beyond 40°C, it is advisable to not go out during peak sun hours (12 noon-4 pm).