Dangerous heatwave conditions are affecting vast swathes of India since mid-April, bringing temperatures 4.5 – 8.5 °C (8 to 15 °F) above average in east, central and northwest India.
- The heatwave comes after the country recorded its hottest March on record.
- The country as a whole recorded 8.9 mm (0.35 inches) of rainfall in March, which was 71% less than its long period average rainfall of 30.4 mm (1.19 inches). It was also the third-lowest precipitation in March since 1901 after 7.2 mm (0.28 inches) in 1909 and 8.7 mm (0.34 inches) in 1908.
- An energy crisis is now affecting portions of the country as coal supplies have run out amid record consumption.
- A change in temperatures is expected around May 4 with a cyclonic circulation system developing in the Andaman Sea followed by low pressure by May 5.
On Tuesday, April 26, 2022, a high of 45.1 °C (113.2°F) was reported at Barmer, West Rajasthan while many other localities recorded temperatures of 42 – 44°C (108 – 111°F).1
On Wednesday, April 27, the highest temperature in the country was recorded in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh at 45.9°C (114.6°F).
Gurugram logged an all-time high of 45.6 °C (114 °F) on Thursday, April 28, breaking the previous record of 44.8 °C (112.6 °F) set on April 28, 1979.
On the same day, Delhi recorded 43.5 °C (110.3 °F), marking its hottest April day in 12 years. Its maximum temperature of 43.7 °C (110.6 °F) was set on April 18, 2010.
In Madhya Pradesh, Khajuraho registered 45.6 °C (114 °F), Nowgong 45.6 °C (114 °F), and Khargone 45.2 °C (113.3 °F), while in Maharashtra, Akola recorded 45.4 °C (113.7 °F), Bramhapuri 45.2 °C (113.3 °F) and Jalgaon 45.6 °C (114 °F).
India’s peak power demand in a day touched the all-time high of 204.65 GW on Thursday while various states warned they are lacking enough coal to maintain power production. Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, for example, said the national capital had only one day’s worth of coal supply left.2
This is leading to a serious energy crisis, with this year’s power outages the worst in more than 6 years.
From Jammu and Kashmir to Andhra Pradesh, Indians are facing power outages lasting from 2 to 8 hours or more.3
India is the world’s third-largest energy-consuming country, whose majority of energy demands are met by coal. This year’s crisis is exacerbated by prolonged early-season heatwaves and rising prices of coal.
RK Jenamani, a senior scientist at India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the heatwave, which is very intense today, will continue to persist for the next 24 to 48 hours. However, post that, temperatures are likely to drop.5
“As per the latest model projection, around May 4, a cyclonic circulation system will develop in the Andaman Sea. It’ll be followed by low pressure by May 5. It’s likely to further intensify. All these changes are likely to cause a drop in temperature,” Jenamani said.
This year, the country recorded its warmest March in 122 years with severe heatwave conditions across large swathes.
IMD attributed the heat to the lack of rainfall due to the absence of active western disturbances over north India and any major system over south India.
The country as a whole recorded 8.9 mm (0.35 inches) of rainfall in March, which was 71% less than its long period average rainfall of 30.4 mm (1.19 inches). It was also the third-lowest precipitation in March since 1901 after 7.2 mm (0.28 inches) in 1909 and 8.7 mm (0.34 inches) in 1908.
India’s worst heat waves occurred in 2015, leaving at least 2 081 fatalities.
“However, those heat waves developed closer to the start of summer in May and early June,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist and Lead International Forecaster Jason Nicholls said.6
1 Early Season Heat Waves Strike India – EO – April 29, 2022
2 Heatwave in India Updates: Haryana Faces Up to 6 Hours of Cuts, Protests Outside Punjab Power Min’s Home; Relief Likely from May 2 – News18 – April 19, 2022
3 Why India Is Witnessing Worst Power Outage In Decades, All You Need To Know – Outlook India – April 29, 2022
4 Delhi under severe heatwave conditions after hottest March on record, India – The Watchers – April 9, 2022
5 Respite from heatwaves soon: IMD forecasts thunderstorms and rain in several states from May 2 – Times Now News – April 29, 2022
6 Temperatures to top 110 in New Delhi as searing heat wave bakes India – AccuWeather – April 28, 2022
Featured image credit: NASA/EO
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