Rain, gusty winds batter Delhi; 9 flights diverted

Mar 29, 2023 11:30 PM IST

No rain was reported at any weather station in Delhi till 5.30pm. However, Safdarjung, representative of Delhi’s weather recorded 8.8mm of rain between 5.30pm and 8.30pm

A thunderstorm accompanied by rain and hit several parts of the Capital on Wednesday evening, leading to at least nine flights at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport being diverted to Jaipur, officials said. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a yellow alert for the Capital for both Thursday and Friday, forecasting more rain and gusty winds.

Commuters caught in the rain in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Poto)
Commuters caught in the rain in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Sanjeev Verma/HT Poto)

To be sure, IMD issues a yellow alert to warn the public of a weather phenomenon.

Delhi recorded clear skies in the first half of the day, with a maximum temperature of 33.6 degrees Celsius (°C)—two degrees above normal. No rain was reported at any weather station in Delhi till 5.30pm. However, Safdarjung, representative of Delhi’s weather recorded 8.8mm of rain between 5.30pm and 8.30pm, while Palam recorded 0.4mm of rain during this period, IMD said, adding the maximum wind speed recorded at Safdarjung was 57kmph.

Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at IMD, said a combination of added moisture coming in from Rajasthan, coupled with high temperature over Delhi, led to the formation of thunder clouds in the western part of the Capital.

“A western disturbance is currently prevalent near Afghanistan, which has led to an induced cyclonic circulation over Rajasthan. This circulation brought moisture towards Delhi from the western part of the country and the combination of high moisture and high temperature led to thunder clouds forming fairly quickly in the evening. At Palam, the wind speed touched 40kmph.” he said, adding these clouds moved swiftly across the Capital, leading to short but intense spells of rain in some areas.

According to Srivastava, while rain is expected on both Thursday and Friday, there are chances of Delhi recording more rain on Friday. “Owing to high moisture, we may see similar thunder cloud formation on Thursday which will bring very localised rain. On Friday, we can expect large parts of NCR to be covered by clouds, with light rain and gusty winds of 30-40kmph. Some parts of NCR may even record hail on Friday,” he added.

Meanwhile, an airport official confirmed the diversions, attributing them to strong winds. “Owing to strong crosswinds, nine diversions—all to Jaipur—were reported in the evening.”

In terms of minimum temperature, Delhi recorded a low of 16.2°C, which is two degrees below normal. Forecast for Thursday shows the maximum is likely to stay around 32°C, while the minimum may hover around 17°C.

IMD data shows Delhi has so far received 37.1mm of rain in March, which is already higher than the monthly normal average mark of 17.4mm. The last time Delhi received more rain in March was in 2020, when 109.6mm of rain was recorded during the month. That is also the all-time record for monthly rainfall in March.

The Met department has also warned of a fresh thunderstorm over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, East Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and neighbouring areas between March 30 and April 1, adding isolated hailstorm activity is also expected over the region on March 30 and 31.

“A western disturbance is approaching. The induced cyclonic circulation is likely to reach southwest Rajasthan. The trough from this cyclonic circulation will stretch up to Uttar Pradesh. These weather systems will bring widespread thundershowers over Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh and the eastern states. We can expect hailstorm over parts of Punjab, Haryana, west Uttar Pradesh, Odisha. Temperatures will drop thereafter,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president, climate and meteorology, Skymet Weather.

According to IMD data, there is 26% excess rain over the country in March with 202% excess over central India; 113% over peninsular India; 18% deficiency over northwest India and 18% excess over east and northeast India. Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi have recorded large excess rain (60% and above over normal).

“A lot of moisture is coming in from Arabian Sea because of the cyclonic circulation over southwest Rajasthan, The wind discontinuity from Madhya Pradesh to Tamil Nadu is also making conditions favourable for thundershowers. IMD has also issued an advisory for farmers,” said Naresh Kumar, scientist, IMD.

IMD has recommended deferring harvesting of matured crops in Arunachal Pradesh; keeping already harvested produce in a safe place or cover the heaps of already harvested produce in the field with tarpaulin sheets. It has advised that harvesting of matured crops in Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan be completed during clear weather. It may be advisable to drain out excess water from crop fields and provide mechanical support to horticultural crops as well as staking to vegetables in northeast India. In its impact based warning, IMD has said strong wind/hail may damage plantation, horticulture and standing crops; hail may injure people and cattle at open places; partial damage to vulnerable structures due to strong winds; minor damage to kutcha houses/walls and huts is likely.

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