NEW DELHI: Delhi logged just 17.6mm of rainfall between March 1 and June 24, making it the driest March-June (till June 24) period for the city in at least 14 years. The rain deficit since March 1 is 84% against the normal rainfall of 112.7 mm, according to India Meteorological Department‘s data for 2011-2024 analysed by TOI.
The unusually scanty rainfall this year was one of the main factors for the intense spell of heat in May and June.Though light rain is predicted over the next few days, the city may see more intense rain spells only after the arrival of the monsoon, the normal date of its onset in Delhi being June 27. Though IMD has issued a yellow alert for thunderstorms with rain on June 29 and 30, it hasn’t yet announced when the monsoon is expected to arrive in the capital.
IMD’s data shows that between March 1 and June 24, Safdarjung, the city’s base weather station, logged 207.5mm of rainfall in 2023. The precipitation in the same period in 2022 was 72.5mm, 186.2 mm in 2021, 209.5mm in 2020, 59.8mm in 2019 and 43.8mm in 2018.
14 heatwave days in May and June, highest in city in 14 years
Between 2011 and 2024 in the corresponding period, the second lowest rainfall recorded was in 2012 with 42.8 mm.
Met officials said since no active western disturbance impacted the city this year, Delhi did not witness intense rain activity. “In the summer season, active western disturbances mostly impacted the hilly areas, causing significant rain in the mountains,” a Met official said. “However, the plains, including Delhi, saw mostly dry thunderstorms. Even when western disturbances impacted the region, the city only saw very light to light showers and cloud cover.”
The lack of sufficient rainfall in the past four months led to high temperatures in the region. The city was under the grip of heatwaves in May and June. Safdarjung saw 14 heatwave days in May and June, the highest in at least 14 years. Several other city stations reeled under heatwaves for a larger number of days.
March 2024 recorded a rain deficit of 75% after Delhi received just 4.3mm of rainfall against the month’s normal of 17.4mm. On March 3, the city logged 4mm and it was the highest single-day rainfall recorded at Safdarjung so far this summer.
April also ended with a rain deficit of 54% because the month received just 7.5mm of rain. May was worse, with only 0.4mm of rain logged, a rain deficit of 99%. June has so far reported 5.4mm of rain.