The average maximum temperature over northwest and central India for the month of April this year has been the highest in the past 122 years, going by data available till April 28, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), which began recording weather data in 1901.
The average maximum temperature in April over northwest India was 35.9 degrees Celsius – 3.35 degrees above the long period average, which is considered the ‘normal’. This has surpassed the previous record of 35.4 degrees Celsius recorded in April 2010. The average maximum temperature in April over central India was 37.78 degrees Celsius, higher than the average of 37.75 degrees recorded in 1973.
The minimum temperature also remained above normal in April, indicating above normal temperatures at night. The average minimum temperature over northwest India in April was 19.44 degrees, 1.75 degrees above the long period average.
The maximum temperature over northwest India is likely to remain above the normal in May as well, the IMD said in its forecast for the month issued on Saturday.
Northwest and central India have received “continuously scanty rainfall activity” in March and April, according to Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the IMD. In March, northwest India recorded a deficit in rainfall of around 89%, while the deficit was around 83% in April. The reason for a deficit in pre-monsoon rainfall over northwest and central India is that the western disturbances were feeble and dry, Mohapatra said.
While six western disturbances affected north India, they were mostly feeble and moved across the higher parts of the Himalayas, according to the IMD. Of these, the last three western disturbances caused strong winds in parts of Delhi and dust storms over Rajasthan in April.
The number of instances of heatwave or severe heatwave conditions reported across the country in April this year was 146, the highest since 2010, when 404 such cases were reported. Parts of the country are currently experiencing heatwave conditions in a spell that began around April 27. The average maximum temperature across the country in April this year was 35.05 degrees, which was 1.12 degrees above the normal, and the fourth-highest average for the month recorded in 122 years. The highest was 35.42 degrees recorded in 2010.
Northwest India is likely to continue to experience higher than normal maximum temperatures in May, Mohapatra said. This includes Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan. With minimum temperatures also likely to be above normal, warm night conditions are also likely, he said.
Parts of northwest India, including some parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh, could see below normal rainfall in May, the forecast indicates.