New Delhi: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an orange alert for Delhi-NCR and the plains of northwest India over continued heatwave conditions until May 1.
"There has been no significant rainfall since February 25. In between, on April 14 and April 21, there were dust storms in Rajasthan and Haryana but there was no significant rain. Hence the long dry spell has resulted in high temperatures," senior IMD scientist R.K. Jenamani told mediapersons.
The Safdarjung Observatory – Delhi’s base station – had recorded a maximum temperature of 40.8°C on Tuesday.
It is expected to breach the 42°C mark on Wednesday and soar to 44°C by Thursday, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The maximum temperature may even leap to 46°C in parts of Delhi, a Met department official said.
The capital had recorded a maximum temperature of 43.2°C on April 21, 2017. The all-time high maximum temperature for the month was 45.6°C on April 29, 1941.
Northwest India has been recording higher than normal temperatures since March last week, with weather experts attributing it to absence of active Western Disturbances over north India and any major system over south India.
The region had got some respite last week due to cloudy weather due to the influence of a Western Disturbance over Afghanistan.
A yellow alert warning of a heatwave spell in the national capital starting April 28 has been issued.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) uses four colour codes for weather warnings – green (no action needed), yellow (watch and stay updated), orange (be prepared) and red (take action).
The IMD said the heatwave could lead to “moderate” health concerns for vulnerable people – infants, elderly, people with chronic diseases – in affected areas.
“Hence, people of these regions should avoid heat exposure, wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose, cotton clothes and cover the head by use of cloth, hat, umbrella etc.,” it said.
The city has recorded eight heatwave days in April this year, the maximum since 11 such days witnessed in the month in 2010.
Delhi may see a partly cloudy sky, light rain, and a dust storm with winds gusting up to 50 kmph on Friday, which may provide a temporary respite.
For the plains, a heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature is over 40°C and at least 4.5 notches above normal.
A severe heatwave is declared if the departure from normal temperature is more than 6.4 notches, according to the IMD.
The weather department had earlier said that northwest India and adjoining parts of central India are likely to see more intense and frequent heatwave conditions in April.
India recorded its warmest March in 122 years with a severe heatwave scorching large swathes of the country during the month.
Parts of the country are also seeing wheat yields drop by up to 35% due to the unseasonal heat.