Clear Skies And Slow Westerly Winds Baked The CapitalAmit.Bhattacharya@timesgroup.com
The peak temperature in the capital fell slightly on Wednesday after staying at 43° Celsius and above for eight straight days — making it the longest spell of intense heat in the month of May in five years.
The maximum temperature had climbed to 44 degrees C at Safdarjung on May 22, and remained in the 43-degree-andabove zone till Tuesday (May 29), as clear skies and slow westerly winds baked the city. The highest temperature during this eight-day period was 45 degrees C, five notches above normal, recorded on May 26.
While May is among the hottest two months of the year in Delhi, such sustained high heat without a break isn’t very common. The last time the city witnessed a longer spell of 43-plus temperatures was in 2013, when a rainless month of May led to very high temperatures. That year, the hot spell lasted from May 19 to 30, touching a high of 45.7 degrees Celsius.
This year, temperatures started inching up from May
20. “Before that, thunderstorms were hitting the city at regular intervals due to western disturbances (WDs) and easterly winds were bringing in moisture,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the Regional Weather Forecasting Centre.
“From May 20 onwards, the weather had been dry, the skies clear and hot westerlies (loo winds) were blowing at slow speeds. This was the perfect combination for a build-up of heat,” Srivastava said.
Although two-three WDs crossed the region during the heat spell, these blew over Jammu and Kashmir and left no impact on north Indian plains.
Although Wednesday’s maximum temperature of 42° C was still more than a notch above normal, it was a fall of over two degrees from the previous day’s high. “Easterly winds have started blowing in the region. These winds are less hot and bring in moisture, which has lowered the heat slightly while raising humidity levels,” Srivastava said.
The Met office said easterlies are likely to continue blowing over the capital in the next three-four days. “Maximum temperatures are expected to be in the 41-42 degrees range,” the official added.