A severe thunderstorm reaching speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour and rain hit Delhi on Tuesday evening, sending pedestrians running for cover and affecting vehicular movement. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said another western disturbance is likely to bring storms and rain to the northern plains, including Delhi, over the next few days.
Maximum temperatures are predicted to remain below the 40-degree mark until June 5. The Safdarjung Observatory, Delhi’s primary weather station, recorded a maximum temperature of 35.9 degrees Celsius, five notches below normal, on Tuesday.
Delhi experienced moderate to severe thunderstorms with lightning and gusty winds, reaching speeds of 70-80 kilometres per hour, the Met office said. As gusty winds blew across the city, many pedestrians rushed for shelter as it began to rain while vehicular movement was also affected.
The IMD has issued a ‘yellow’ alert for Wednesday, warning of traffic disruptions and inundation of low-lying areas due to rain. The maximum temperature is expected to hover around 35 degrees Celsius.
This is the first time since 2014, the national Capital has not recorded any heatwave in May in the pre-monsoon season. A few isolated areas, however, witnessed heatwave conditions for a brief period in April and May.
May, historically the hottest month in Delhi with a mean maximum temperature of 39.5 degrees Celsius, has recorded below-normal temperatures and excess rain this time.
Meteorologists attributed the phenomenon to higher-than-usual western disturbances — weather systems that originate in the Mediterranean region and bring unseasonal rainfall to northwest India -- this pre-monsoon season (March to May).
“Usually, five to six western disturbances are recorded in the northern plains in April and May. We saw 10 western disturbances, mostly strong ones, this time,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the Regional Forecasting Centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).