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Delhi’s Safdarjung records hottest May day in 18 years at 46°C on Tuesday

At 46 degrees Celsius, the city on Tuesday recorded its highest temperature in the month of May in 18 years, data from the India Meteorological Department shows.

The maximum temperature at the IMD’s Safdarjung observatory, considered to be representative of the city, was six degrees above normal and was recorded as 46 degrees Celsius. The last time the temperature reached this mark was on May 19 , 2002. As per the IMD, the all-time highest temperature to have been recorded in this month was 47.2 degrees Celsius on May 29, 1944.

Other parts of the city recorded even higher temperatures, including Southwest Delhi’s Palam, which witnessed a ‘severe heatwave’ with the mercury soaring up to 47.6 degrees Celsius, and South Delhi’s Aya Nagar, where it was 46.8 degrees.

In Palam, the last time the temperature reached the 47.6 degrees mark in this month was 10 years ago on May 18, 2010.

Since May 22, the maximum temperature recorded in the city has remained above 42 degrees Celsius. Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the IMD’s regional forecasting centre in Delhi, said there were multiple factors that have been causing the temperatures to soar.

“At present we are seeing strong and dry northwesterly winds blowing over Delhi-NCR for the past few days, from the direction of Rajasthan, which faces dry weather at this time of the year. We also do not have a cloud cover, because of which the rays of the sun are vertically affecting the surface,” he said.

The city has also received considerably less rainfall this month compared to the previous four Mays since 2016. Delhi has recorded 3.2mm rainfall so far this month, whereas in May 2019 it had recorded a total rainfall of 26.9mm.

However, the IMD has forecast that a Western Disturbance would affect Delhi-NCR by May 29, resulting in a thunderstorm or dust storm, and that the temperature is expected to go down to 34 degrees Celsius on May 30.

For the second day running, Delhi’s peak power demand went beyond last years’ for the corresponding days of May 24 and 25. On May 25, 2020, Delhi’s peak demand was at 5385 MW, the season’s highest. Last year on May 25 it was 5107 MW.

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