Mercury hits 2020’s highest note; end of winter, say expertsUpdated: Feb 13, 2020 19:55 IST
The maximum temperature on Thursday increased by three degrees Celsius, to 27.2 degrees Celsius, the highest day temperature of 2020, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Thursday’s maximum temperature was also four degrees Celsius above the normal for this time of the year.
Experts attributed the rise in the day temperature to a change in the direction of the wind and to a clear sky, and said that similar day temperatures are likely for the next two to three days.
On Thursday, the relatively cooler northwesterly winds abated and gave way to warm westerlies from Rajasthan and Pakistan, according to Mahesh Palawat, the vice-president of climate change and meteorology, Skymet Weather, a private weather forecast agency. “The day temperature over the next two to three days is likely to stay around 25 and 26 degrees Celsius,” he said.
The minimum temperature also increased by three degrees Celsius, to record 10.2 degrees Celsius on Thursday.
Experts said the rise in temperatures signifies a gradual change in the season. “The day temperatures will mostly be stable next week, before rising further by the end of February. From now, western disturbances will become feeble and their impact in the northern plains will be negligible,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, head of the regional meteorological centre at the IMD, New Delhi.
A western disturbance (WD) is a storm originating in the Mediterranean region that brings winter rain to the northwestern parts of the Indian subcontinent. They lead to a fall in minimum temperatures and cause colder weather conditions. Last year, an unusually high number of western disturbances caused severe cold weather in northwest India between February and March.
December, January, and February are considered the official winter months by the IMD. From March, the wind pattern starts changing, paving the way for summer, said experts. The IMD had, earlier this month, predicted the winter chill to abate after February 13 and had predicted that the minimum and maximum temperatures would inch closer to normal.
On Thursday, the city’s air quality improved to the ‘moderate’ category from ‘poor’ the previous day, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) air quality index (AQI) bulletin. On Thursday, the air quality index of Gurugram was 154, an improvement from Wednesday’s AQI of 272.
The improvement was a result of a rise in the minimum temperature and faster winds (with a speed of around 20 kmph). Experts predict the air quality to remain in the ‘moderate’ level due to high wind speed over the next three days.
The minimum temperature is likely to drop by a degree Celsius or two on Saturday, due to a passing western disturbance, but would rise again early next week, according to the IMD.
Meanwhile, most of the days in February have remained fog-free so far, a deviation from the norm, as a high number of dense fog days are generally recorded this month. IMD officials cited the absence of rain and high humidity as the main reasons.