At 41°C, Mumbai recorded highest March day temperature in 7 years on Sunday
The city recorded one of its hottest March days in history on Sunday after the mercury rose by more than 8 degrees Celsius above normal.
The weather station at Santacruz recorded 41 degrees Celsius, which 8.2 degrees Celsius above normal and Colaba recorded 38 degrees Celsius, 6.7 degrees Celsius above normal. Similar conditions are expected on Monday.
Sunday’s day temperature saw a sharp spike from Saturday as Santacruz and Colaba had recorded 33.2 and 31.5 degrees Celsius, both close to normal levels.
The maximum temperature was also the second-highest March day temperature for Mumbai over the past decade. The highest for the month over the past decade was recorded on March 17, 2011, at 41.3 degrees Celsius and the all-time high was recorded on March 28, 1956, at 41.7 degrees Celsius.
The weather bureau forecasted 41 degrees Celsius for Monday as well. “As a result of an upper air anticyclonic circulation over north of Maharashtra, warm and dry easterly winds prevail over Mumbai and surrounding areas. On Sunday, the sea breeze (cool westerly winds) set in very late, allowing temperatures to go up much above the normal mark. While such weather conditions are common for March, we expect high temperatures to continue till Monday, and a drop is expected thereafter,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, India Meteorological Department (IMD). “As they are dry winds and the westerlies did not set in on time, moisture or humidity level was less, a temporary relief for Mumbaiites.”
Minimum temperatures on Sunday, however, were close to the normal mark. While Colaba recorded 54% humidity, 25% was recorded at Santacruz.
Why wasn’t heat wave alert issued, ask researchers
On Saturday, the weather bureau had predicted the day temperature to rise on Sunday, but issued a forecast of 35 degrees Celsius. The forecast was revised on Sunday morning to 37 degrees Celsius. However, when meteorological observations were recorded at 5.30pm, the day temperature was 5 degrees Celsius more than what was predicted.
Akshay Deoras, meteorologist and independent meteorological advisor to the Maharashtra government, said the IMD should have issued a severe heat wave warning on Saturday for Sunday and Monday.
“A heat wave is generally declared by IMD when maximum temperatures are above 40 degrees Celsius in the plains and they are 4.5 to 6.4 degrees Celsius above normal. In this case, it should be a severe heat wave warning as temperature was more than 6.5 degrees Celsius above normal”, said Deoras adding, “Similar conditions are expected on Monday, and citizens are advised to avoid dehydration, keep water bottles and umbrellas handy.”
He said according to weather models and charts being studied by him, a high pressure area is located 10,000 feet from the earth’s surface over parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. “Whenever there is a region of high pressure above the surface, temperatures tend to go up as such conditions lead to subsidence of air. This warms the air and make it more dry. The impact also delays setting of relatively cool and moist winds from the sea. This high pressure effect is likely to die down by Tuesday, and temperatures will gradually decline,” said Deoras.
“It was abnormally warm on Sunday and I felt like I was in Delhi because we are not used to dry heat. Whatever winds were also being felt was almost like loo (dusty hot winds). If this is the condition in March, it will be extremely difficult to make it through in May,” said Neeta Chiplunkar, Matunga resident.
Meanwhile, for the second consecutive day, air quality remained in the ‘poor’ category. Mumbai recorded an air quality index (AQI) of 237 (poor) on Sunday and 210 (poor) on Saturday. An AQI of 231 (poor) has been predicted for Monday.