Delhi’s average maximum temperature this February was 27.7 degrees Celsius (°C), the highest in 17 years, showed data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), with experts attributing the warmth to a major rain shortfall and predicting that the city may be in for a hotter-than-normal summer.
According to the data, Delhi last had a hotter February in 2006, when the average maximum or day temperature was 29.7°C. According to IMD data going back to 1960, this was the third-highest average maximum temperature in February when the Capital recorded an average maximum temperature of 27.9°C.
The average maximum stood at 27.6°C in 2021, which was another unusually warm February.
Also read: Warmest February in 122 years
“This time, we did not see many western disturbances impacting Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR). Usually, we see six to seven western disturbances, including ones that bring rain. There were fewer western disturbances this time and they did not have a significant impact on Delhi weather, which would have generated rain activity. Skies were clear due to which sunlight was sufficient,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD.
Delhi recorded 0mm rain in February. February usually gets 21.1mm rain, according to IMD data.
The hottest day in the month was February 21 when the maximum temperature was recorded at 33.6°C, while the coldest day was February 2 at 8.3°C, according to IMD.
IMD’s Safdarjung observatory, which is representative of Delhi’s weather, recorded a maximum temperature of 32.3°C on Tuesday, seven degrees above normal for this time of the year. The minimum temperature on Tuesday stood at 13.5°C, a degree above normal.
According to IMD’s weekly forecast, the maximum temperature is expected to hover around 31°C on Wednesday while the minimum is likely to settle at 14°C. A partly cloudy sky is expected with the possibility of very light rain or drizzle at one or two places in the morning hours due to a western disturbance that will influence weather over the plains of north-west India from February 28. “The impact of the western disturbance is going to be negligible. We might only see a few spells of drizzle in isolated places at night or early morning,” said Srivastava.
Meanwhile, Delhi’s air quality, which remained in the ‘poor’ zone on Tuesday with an air quality index (AQI) of 218, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) 4 pm bulletin, will improve to ‘moderate’ on Wednesday. “The air quality is likely to improve and remain in the moderate category from Wednesday till Friday,” stated the forecast by the Early Warning System (EWS) for Delhi-NCR developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, which CAQM relies on for its forecasts.
On Monday, AQI was in the ‘poor’ zone with a reading of 260. An AQI between zero and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.