With temperatures surpassing the 45 degrees Celsius-mark across several parts in north India, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday issued a “red” warning for Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Rajasthan for the next two days.
The IMD has also issued an orange warning for heatwave for east Uttar Pradesh, said Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of IMD’s Regional Meteorological Centre.
He cautioned that temperatures could soar up to 47 degrees Celsius in some parts over the next 2-3 days.
This is also for the first time this summer season that a red warning has been issued for heatwave, Srivastava said.
This season, the temperatures did not rise the way it usually does in north and central India because of significant rainfall activity during April that continued till mid-May.
On Saturday, Pilani in Rajasthan recorded 46.7 degrees Celsius.
“Heatwave conditions over some parts with severe heatwave over isolated pockets are very likely over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Telnagana during the next five days,” the IMD said in its daily bulletin.
It added that heatwave conditions in isolated pockets over Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Gujarat, central Maharashtra and Vidarbha, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Yanam, Rayalseema and north interior Karnataka are also likely during the next 3-4 days.
A heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature is at least 40 degrees Celsius and the departure from normal temperature is 4.5 degrees Celsius to 6.4 degrees Celsius.
For the plains, a heatwave is declared when the actual maximum temperature is 45 degrees Celsius and severe heatwave when it is 47 degrees Celsius or above.
The IMD issues colour-coded warnings depending on the intensity of any weather system in ascending order green, yellow, orange and red.
Srivastava said the red warning has been issued to caution people not to step out during 1 pm to 5 pm, when the intensity of the heat is the most.
Naresh Kumar, a scientist with the National Weather Forecasting Centre of the IMD, said due to dry north-westerly winds and a trough between Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu, conditions are favourable for heatwave to severe heatwave.
Kumar said relief is only expected after May 28 as a western disturbance is likely to bring some rainfall.
A western disturbance is a cyclonic storm that originates in the Mediterranean and travels across Central Asia. When it comes in contact with the Himalayas, it brings rains to the hills and plains.