Four days into March, Mumbai sizzles at 38 degrees Celsius
- According to the IMD's forecast, Friday and Saturday may see higher daytime temperatures that could rise to 39 degrees Celsius.
Mumbai witnessed its hottest day of the season so far on Thursday, recording a maximum temperature of 38.1 degrees Celsius at the India Meteorological Department's (IMD) automatic weather station in Santacruz, up from 37.3 degrees Celsius a day earlier.
Thursday's reading was 5 degrees Celsius above normal, and surpassed last year's maximum temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius for the month (on March 17).
Officials once again attributed rising temperature to dry, warm winds blowing at a low altitude over the city -- at about 900 metres above mean sea level -- coming from an anti-cyclonic circulation over central India. "Persistent influence of these winds over the last two days has caused the temperature to rise," said Shubhangi Bhute, scientist at IMD. She said a heat wave may be announced if temperatures remain 5 degrees above normal for a second day.
The minimum temperature at Santacruz was recorded at 20.6 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, which was at normal, and only slightly higher than the previous day's reading of 20.4 degrees Celsius.
In Colaba, on the other hand, maximum temperature was recorded at 33.8 degrees Celsius (down from 34.5 degrees a day prior), while minimum temperature was recorded at 23 degrees Celsius (up from Wednesday’s 22.3 degrees Celsius).
According to the IMD's seven-day forecast for Santacruz, Friday and Saturday may see higher daytime temperatures that could rise to 39 degrees Celsius. The minimum reading is predicted to remain at least 21 degrees Celsius over the week. Mainly clear skies will prevail.
Air quality on Thursday settled just short of the very poor category, with the air quality index (AQI) at 293, up from 208 on Wednesday, according to the System of Air Quality Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR). The forecast for AQI for Friday is 259.