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Delhi feels the heat as mercury hits 42.5­°C, power demand spikes | Latest News Delhi

Delhi on Thursday logged a maximum temperature of 42.5°C, which was two degrees above the normal and the highest of the season, due to dry westerly and northwesterly winds alongside clear skies, officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. Forecasting a maximum temperature of 45°C for the weekend, IMD issued a heatwave alert for Saturday.

Visitors at Kartavya Path cover up their faces and wear caps to shield themselves from the sun. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

Mercury inches past 41°C, IMD predicts heatwave conditions in Delhi on Saturday

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Amid the temperature rise, this was also the fourth consecutive day of “poor” air in the Capital, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The maximum temperature at the Safdarjung weather station, which is representative of Delhi, was 41.2°C a day earlier, 40.6°C on Tuesday and 40.2°C on Monday. The previous maximum of the season was 42°C, recorded on May 7.

An IMD official said Delhi-NCR is currently experiencing dry westerly and northwesterly winds, alongside clear skies. “This is allowing direct sunlight to heat up the surface during the day. These dry westerly winds are also raising dust and allowing mercury to rise further,” the official said, adding Delhi’s maximum temperature could be around 43°C on Friday at Safdarjung and further touch 45°C by Saturday, when a heatwave is likely.

IMD classifies a heatwave day as one when the maximum temperature is 4.5°C above the normal and also above 40°C. Delhi is yet to record a heatwave day this year.

At other weather stations, mercury crossed 44°C on Thursday, clocking 44.4°C in northwest Delhi’s Mungeshpur, followed by 44.2°C each at Najafgarh and Pitampura stations.

Delhi’s minimum temperature was 24.8°C, a degree below the normal, but up from 22.9°C recorded a day earlier.

Heatwave alert for North India, heavy rainfall in South till May 22: IMD updates

The Capital logged an air quality index (AQI) of 235 at 4pm on Thursday, as per the CPCB bulletin, logging a marginal improvement from Wednesday’s reading of 243. The main pollutants in the air on Thursday were both PM 2.5 (particulate matter having a diameter less than 2.5 microns) and PM 10, according to CPCB, an indication of both dust and combustion sources impacting air quality.

Forecasts by the Centre’s early warning system (EWS) for Delhi showed there was likely to be an improvement in the AQI by Saturday. “The AQI is likely to be in the ‘poor’ category on Friday and it could be ‘moderate’ on Saturday and Sunday,” the daily bulletin issued by EWS said.

Power demand hits highest note of season

The Capital also clocked the highest power demand of the year, reaching 6,780 MW at 3.26pm on Thursday, according to the state load despatch centre (SLDC) data. Discoms BRPL (BSES Rajdhani Power Limited) and BYPL (BSES Yamuna Power Limited) successfully met the peak power demand in their respective areas.

The previous season-high demand was 6,529 MW, on May 10.

According to SLDC data, Delhi’s peak power demand in May 2024 has been higher than that in May 2023. The highest power demand in the first 16 days of May 2023 was only 5,781 MW (on May 16), according to the data.

Discoms said measures are already in place for an “even warmer (than 2023) summer”.

A discom official, not wanting to be named, said the increase in power demand is primarily down to an increased usage of air conditioners. “Its usage keeps increasing as mercury rises, as people use ACs for a much longer duration,” the official said.

BSES said its subsidiaries BRPL and BYPL were able to meet a peak power demand of 2,861 MW and 1,488 MW under their respective jurisdictions.

“BSES discoms are geared up to ensure reliable power supply to meet the power demand of around 20 million residents across Delhi,” a BSES official said, adding that the arrangements in place included power purchase agreements (PPAs) and banking arrangements with other states.

Mercury hits 41°C; heatwave declared in parts of Chandigarh tricity

Tata Power DDL, which supplies electricity in north Delhi, meanwhile, had a peak demand of 1,982 MW in its jurisdiction. “We were able to ensure uninterrupted power supply without any network constraints and power outages,” a Tata Power DDL spokesperson said, adding other than power arrangements, the discom also had battery energy storage systems (BESS) in place.

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