Heatwave in north, Delhi records 49°C; rainfall in south, east
The temperatures in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh breached the 49 °C mark on Sunday amid an intensive heatwave in north India, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD). Delhi's temperatures ranged from 45.6 °C at the Safdarjung observatory—its highest this year—to 49.2 °C and 49.1 °C at Mungeshpur and Najafgarh, respectively. Meanwhile, the IMD issued a red alert for five Kerala districts for heavy rainfall.
- A week ago, the IMD predicted that—after a brief respite—northwest India and central India are likely to witness heatwave conditions.
- Meanwhile, Haryana's Gurugram recorded 48.1 °C on Sunday—the highest since May 10, 1966, when it registered 49 °C.
- This year, northwest and central India experienced their hottest April in 122 years, leading to an increase in power demands, causing coal shortages and power blackouts.
According to the weather service, the maximum temperature was significantly above normal (5.1 °C or higher) in several places in Haryana, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, and East Rajasthan, among others. In J&K, a heatwave gripped most of the Jammu region, with the mercury reaching a season-high of 43.9 °C on Sunday. Srinagar's night temperature was recorded at 13.6 °C—3 °C above normal.
According to the IMD, a western disturbance will cause dust storms and thunderstorms across some northern states on Monday, especially in northern Punjab and Haryana. It will also lead to mild dust storms in the rest of Punjab, Haryana, west Uttar Pradesh, and in Delhi-NCR.
While northern India braved the heat, most regions of southern India witnessed heavy rain, with Kerala and Lakshadweep receiving 52.2mm and 57.7mm of rain on Sunday, respectively. Consequently, the IMD issued a red alert for five districts in Kerala, including Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram, and Kozhikode. Ernakulam received 122.2mm of rainfall on Sunday—13 times more than the 8.3mm average for the day, said reports.
The IMD predicted rain or thundershowers in southern West Bengal districts over the next five days, including Kolkata. Like several other areas, WB had been experiencing regular rainfall in May after a dry April. Meanwhile, severe flooding and massive landslides have ravaged several areas of Assam, cutting off rail and road connectivity in several areas of the state, with three deaths reported on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon is set to make landfall in Kerala as early as May 27. Notably, the monsoon season in the state typically begins on June 1. Last year, the monsoon arrived on May 31. "Southwest monsoon is likely to advance into South Andaman Sea, Nicobar Islands, and the adjoining Southeast Bay of Bengal during next 24 hours," the IMD stated on Sunday.
In March, Abinash Mohanty, Programme Lead at the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW), said the IMD's heatwave alerts reflect the effects of climate extremes in recent years. This is consistent with projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report. "Increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme events...is a result of human-caused landscape disruptions...which causes temperature and precipitation anomalies," Mohanty stated.