Between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday, the thermometer did not fall below 43 degrees Celsius in West Delhi
Temperature recorded at the Palam observatory broke all records since the establishment of the centre in 1952. Mercury touched 47.8 degrees Celsius in Palam, while Safdarjung seethed at 45.1 degrees Celsius.
The real picture of the heat wave is, however, not the extremes, but that between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. the thermometer did not fall below 43 degrees Celsius in West Delhi. The minimum temperatures of 28.6 and 31.6 degrees Celsius in Safdarjung and Palam, respectively were both above normal.
At 6-30 p.m., on Sunday, winds of 50 kilometres per hour were reported along with cloud cover and a storm warning was issued to the Indira Gandhi International Airport.
“There was a good chance of a thunderstorm and we were proud that no storm had been reported anywhere else. But the air was too dry and the winds were due to local convection that failed to transform into a storm,” R.K. Jenamani, director in-charge of the IGI Meteorological Office told The Hindu.
He explained that Western Disturbance and Easterly Winds, which are normal features during June, have been absent for the past eight days. “Hence, the high temperature is persisting throughout the day... There is a possibility of thunderstorms on June 12 or 13,” Dr. Jenamani added.
When temperatures get closer to the 50 degrees Celsius mark, heavy aircraft such as cargo planes delay their landing until after 7 p.m. due to the low pressure on the runway.
Constant high temperatures across the city also create hazards in power supply and road conditions in addition to health risks such as strokes and overheating of mechanical equipment. Respite seems a possibility only later this week as forecasts indicate clear skies.