Wettest monsoon since 1964 in Delhi; September inching towards 121-yr-old record
Delhi has recorded its wettest monsoon since 1964, with the total rain this season, crossing 1160mm on Thursday -- yet another landmark in the city that has been reporting at least one weather extreme for the past 14 months.
India Meteorological Department on Thursday said the city has clocked a total rain of 1160.8mm this season. The department said the national capital recorded 1190.9mm rainfall in 1964, between June 1 and September 30.
It added that with 14 days still to go in September, the city on Thursday crossed the rainfall record of 1975 when the rain gauges clocked 1155.mm.
“The rainfall record for this season is barely a few millimetres short of breaking the 1964 monsoon record of 1190.9mm. And, this season is racing towards the all-time record of 1420.3mm that was reported in 1933,” said RK Jenamani, senior scientist, IMD.
Delhi’s Safdarjung weather station on Thursday received 12.6 mm rainfall. With Thursday’s rain, the monthly rainfall for September also climbed to 404.4mm. If rains persist, it may cross the all-time record of wettest September in the last 121 years, since IMD started record keeping. The current all-time record for the wettest September is 417.3 mm witnessed in 1944.
“We still have at least 14 days for the monsoon season to end, so this record (of the wettest September) can be broken any moment,” Jenamani added.
IMD data shows that despite a late onset, Delhi this year has had one of the most erratic monsoons ever. It started off with an unusually delayed arrival, instead of arriving on its normal date of June 27 monsoon this year entered the Capital only on July 13, 16 days behind schedule. This was the most-delayed arrival in 19 years. In 2002, monsoon hit Delhi on July 19.
However, despite the delay, July recorded a cumulative rainfall of 507.1 mm, highest in the last 18 years. July and August were marked by short and intense rain spells, with the city recording the highest single-day rainfall for August in the last 14 years on August 21 (138.8 mm) even though there was a monthly deficit of 13%, according to IMD.
September, which usually sees comparatively fewer rainy days, has already recorded 14 rainy days, as opposed to three rainy days in September 2020, and six in 2019.
Met officials said Delhi might be breaking a few more records this season, considering the city has a forecast of moderate to heavy rains continuing till Friday.
“The low pressure area over north Madhya Pradesh is moving west-northwestwards, bringing moisture. This will lead to more rainfall activity over Delhi and NCR till Friday,” a senior IMD official said.
Private forecasters also said this year Delhi could also witness a delayed monsoon withdrawal. Monsoon withdraws from Delhi usually between September 21 and September 25.
“We are likely to see a late monsoon withdrawal this year. After Friday, there is another forecast of moderate to heavy rainfall on September 21-22. At least till September 24, there are no chances of monsoon withdrawal,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change), Skymet Weather Services.
IMD’s extended range model guidance shows that widespread rainfall is likely over northwest and parts of east India till October 7. However, Met officials are yet to give out a likely date for the withdrawal of southwest monsoon from the region.