Wettest October: Delhi breaks a weather record for 15th straight month

Data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed that Delhi recorded 87.9 mm rainfall between Sunday night and Monday, the most in a day since an October 1956 day when Delhi recorded 111mm rain.
A rainbow seen near India Gate on Monday. Monday’s spell of long and widespread rain was the most in 24 hours since 1956; with this Delhi has broken a weather record for the 15th straight month. (Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)
A rainbow seen near India Gate on Monday. Monday’s spell of long and widespread rain was the most in 24 hours since 1956; with this Delhi has broken a weather record for the 15th straight month. (Arvind Yadav/HT PHOTO)
Published on Oct 18, 2021 11:50 PM IST
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New Delhi: The Capital continued its trend of breaking a weather record every month this October, with Monday’s spell of long and widespread rain being the most in 24 hours since 1956, according to records from the weather office, and also leaving the city with its wettest October since 1960.

Delhi has now broken a weather record for the 15th straight month, records showed.

Data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed that Delhi recorded 87.9 mm rainfall between Sunday night and Monday, the most in a day since an October 1956 day when Delhi recorded 111mm rain.

The weather office did not reveal the day in October 1956 when the city received this record spell of rain.

Monday’s rain also pushed the month’s rainfall count for Delhi to 94.6mm, the most since October 1960, which got 93.4mm rain in the entire month.

The Capital has received 1,474.9mm of rain so far this year.

IMD data shows that between 1910 and 2021, the period for which the agency has records, single-day October rain peaked at 172.7mm in 1954, which was also the wettest October, recording 238.2mm rain.

A senior scientist from IMD said the rain is likely to subside now.

According to IMD data, Delhi has broken at least one weather record every month since August last year.

In August 2020, Delhi recorded 236.5mm rainfall, the highest for the month since 2013 and in September last year, Delhi went on to record the warmest month in over two decades.

The Capital’s average maximum temperature in September last year clocked 36.2 degrees Celsius, breaking the previous record of 36.1 degrees Celsius in 2015.

In October, Delhi broke a 58-year-old record, clocking a mean minimum temperature of just 17.2°C. November broke an even older record, with the month’s mean minimum temperature dropping to 10.2 degrees Celsius, the lowest since 1949.

The trend of record-breaking weather continued in the Capital in December and January.

December recorded eight cold wave days, the most in the month since 1965, and January this year broke the record for the highest rainfall for the month in 21 years (56.6mm), it also recorded the most cold wave days since 2008.

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 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.

The monsoon in Delhi this year saw the city receive 1,176.4mm rain, making it the wettest since 1964, when it got 1,190.9mm of precipitation, according to IMD.

Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change) at Skymet Weather Services, a private weather forecaster, said that a low pressure area (LPA) that had formed over the Bay of Bengal extended its impact till southwest Uttar Pradesh. Usually, the impact of such LPA is only seen till central India.

“Because of this, moderate easterly winds started blowing over the northern plains, up to Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. A deep trough was also extending from Punjab to Arabian Sea across Rajasthan and Gujarat, which also brought moisture into the region. The convergence of these two humid winds, along with a western disturbance over north Pakistan combined to form such a weather condition that led to such intense and widespread rains in the entire northwest region,” said Palawat.

The heavy showers also led to a sharp drop in temperatures. On Monday, the maximum temperature at the Safdarjung weather station, which provides representative data for the entire city, was 23.9°C — nine degrees below what is considered normal for this time of the year. The minimum temperature was 20.1°C, two degrees below normal.

Palawat said that the minimum temperature is likely to remain lower than normal on Tuesday as well, but will start rising slowly once the wind direction changes back to northwest from October 20.

“The drop in temperature seen on Monday was a result of the rain. The temperature will start rising again. Around end week of October, we may start observing a slight nip in the air in Delhi,” he added.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Soumya Pillai covers environment and traffic in Delhi. A journalist for three years, she has grown up in and with Delhi, which is often reflected in the stories she does about life in the city. She also enjoys writing on social innovations.

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