Updated: July 12, 2021 7:36:01 am
Delhi’s wait for monsoon rains did not end on Sunday either, as the city woke up to a partly cloudy sky and high humidity prevailed through the day. IMD officials said the onset in the capital will likely be on Monday now.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has given several different dates for the monsoon to reach the parched city, most recently Saturday, July 10, but the winds carrying moisture continued to give the city a miss.
The maximum temperature was recorded at 39 degrees Celsius on Sunday, three degrees above normal. The minimum was 28.8 degrees Celsius, a degree above normal. Humidity remained between 71% and 58%.
IMD’s most recent monsoon forecast, issued on Sunday afternoon, said that lower-level Easterly winds from the Bay of Bengal had extended further Northwestwards, reaching up to Delhi, Haryana and East Rajasthan since Saturday. “Low-level relative humidity has also increased over the region. Hence, the conditions continue to remain favourable for further advancement of Southwest monsoon over Delhi, remaining parts of West Uttar Pradesh, some more parts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan during the next 24 hours,” it said. The forecast on Saturday was similar.
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The city’s regional weather forecasting division, which had earlier forecast moderate rainfall for three days, alongside thundershowers, and light rain has now forecast light rain on Monday and Tuesday, followed by isolated thundershowers and thundery activity through the week.
“As per the SOP, the onset of monsoon is declared based on rainfall reported during the past 24 hours, ending at 8.30 am each day. Hence, though it is going to rain on Sunday night in Delhi, our statement about the arrival of monsoon arrival will be made in Monday’s midday bulletin,” said IMD scientist Sunitha Devi.
To be sure, the arrival of monsoon does not guarantee steady rainfall. “People think monsoon means it should be raining every day or very heavily. While this can be an effect, the arrival of monsoon actually means that the wind system from the East, which can bring rain has reached the city. Delhi usually has winds blowing from the Northwest direction, but during the monsoon, moisture-laden winds from the East and Southeast regions cover the whole country and bring rain. This advancement of the wind system is what is being delayed,” a senior IMD official said.
So why has the weather department been getting the arrival date wrong so often this year?
In early June, IMD had forecast the city would see an early monsoon this year and monsoon rains would start on June 15, almost two weeks ahead of schedule. That, however, did not happen. According to officials, Easterly winds, which were advancing very quickly, lost steam and winds from the west took their place, making the advancement slower still.
After this, the city missed its regular June 27 date with the monsoon. The IMD then said the first week of July could bring the rains, but they were off the mark again.
“Forecasting the monsoon is a very difficult and complex process because there are several moving parts. Winds lose speed, are replaced by others, or a small pocket of low pressure could develop suddenly and divert the moisture-laden winds. This year, the slowdown has lasted quite long. It has nearly reached Delhi and surrounding areas, but is still sluggish, despite being so close,” said an official.
Delhi, meanwhile, is parched.
Between July 1 and July 10, it is supposed to get 114.2 mm of rain. It has, however, got only 44.1 mm, 61% below normal.
Central Delhi, IMD data shows, has the highest rain deficit at 93%, followed by South Delhi at 79%.
Map of district-wise rainfall deficit in Delhi:
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