Amid a harrowing heat wave that has been building up in northwest India, Delhi on Wednesday saw a two to three degree Celsius jump in maximum temperature in most places.
Safdarjung Observatory – Delhi’s base station – recorded a maximum temperature of 41.5 degrees Celsius compared to 40.8 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.
Pitampura (43.6 degrees Celsius) and Mungeshpur (44.1 degrees Celsius) swayed under a heat wave.
Najafgarh, Ridge and Sports Complex weather stations recorded their maximum temperature at 43.7 degrees Celsius, 43.6 degrees Celsius and 44.2 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The mercury at Safdarjung Observatory is expected to cross the 43 degree mark on Thursday and touch 44 degrees Celsius by Friday, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
The maximum temperature could even soar to 46 degrees Celsius in parts of Delhi, a Met Department official said.
The capital had recorded a maximum temperature of 43.2 degrees Celsius on April 21, 2017. The record high temperature for the month was 45.6 degrees Celsius on April 29, 1941.
Northwest India has been recording above normal temperatures since March last week, with weather experts attributing it to the absence of active western disturbances over northern India and any major systems over the south from India.
The region had some respite last week due to cloudy weather due to the influence of a western disturbance on Afghanistan.
A yellow alert warning has been issued for a heat wave in the nation’s capital beginning April 28.
The IMD uses four color codes for weather warnings: green (no action needed), yellow (watch and stay updated), orange (be prepared) and red (take action).
The IMD said the heat wave could lead to “moderate” health problems for vulnerable people – infants, the elderly, people with chronic conditions – in the affected areas.
“Therefore, people in these areas should avoid exposure to heat, wear light, light-coloured, loose-fitting, cotton clothing, and cover their heads with a cloth, hat or an umbrella, etc.”, he said.
The city recorded eight days of heatwave in April this year, the maximum for 11 such days seen during the month in 2010.
Delhi may also see partly cloudy skies, light rain and a dust storm with winds of up to 50 kph on Friday and Sunday, which may provide temporary respite.
For the plains, a heat wave is declared when the maximum temperature is above 40 degrees Celsius and at least 4.5 notches above normal.
A severe heat wave is declared if the deviation from normal temperature is more than 6.4 notches, according to the IMD.
The meteorological service had previously said that northwest India and adjoining parts of central India are likely to experience more intense and frequent heat wave conditions in April.
India recorded its hottest March in 122 years with a severe heat wave scorching large swathes of the country last month. Some parts of the country are also seeing wheat yields drop by up to 35% due to unseasonable heat.
Dileep Mavalankar, Director of Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar (IIPHG), said: “People should pay heed to IMD advisories, stay indoors, hydrate and rush to the health center. nearest if they are experiencing moderate signs of heat-related illness.” It is particularly necessary to monitor the elderly and vulnerable, just as we have done during COVID, as they can develop heatstroke even when ‘They’re sitting at home,’ he said.
Mavalankar said cities should monitor all-cause mortality data as well as hospital admissions and ambulance call data daily to compare with data from the past five years to get a real indication of the heat stress on mortality.
Early heat waves have a higher mortality rate because adaptation and preparedness are lower during the months of March and April.
“Central, state and city governments should also focus on this, especially when IMD alerts are in orange and red and they should publish warning announcements in newspapers, television and radio to warn the public .
This is a wake-up call for what is to come in May and June. If we take effective action now, we can prevent a lot of morbidity and mortality,” he said.