India saw 536 heatwave days, warmest June for NW region since 1901: IMD

The country recorded 181 heatwave days in June, the highest after 177 days in 2010

People cover themselves amid a heatwave in Varanasi on 3 May (file photo)
People cover themselves amid a heatwave in Varanasi on 3 May (file photo)


India experienced 536 heatwave days this summer, the highest in 14 years, with the northwestern region recording its warmest June last month since 1901, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday.

The country recorded 181 heatwave days in June, the highest after 177 days in 2010, IMD director-general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said at a virtual press conference. "In 2024 summer, India experienced a total of 536 heatwave days, the highest after 2010 (578 days). In June, it experienced 181 heatwave days, surpassing 2010 (177 days)," he added.

Mohapatra said the monthly average maximum temperature in northwest India settled at 38.02ºC, 1.96ºC above normal. The average minimum temperature stood at 25.44ºC, 1.35ºC above normal.

Northwest India recorded a mean temperature of 31.73ºC in June, 1.65ºC above normal and the highest since 1901.

Northeast India recorded a 33-per cent rainfall deficit in June, which Mohapatra attributed to the sluggish advance of monsoon over the northern and eastern parts of the country owing to a lack of weather systems.

"Only one low-pressure area developed towards the end of June. Normally, we get three low-pressure systems. The Madden-Julian Oscillation was not favourable and therefore, we could not get enhanced convection and low-pressure systems," he said.

The absence of active western disturbances, mainly during the 10 to 19 June period, was also a reason for the longer dry spell and heatwave prevailing over northwest and central India.

Mohapatra said only three western disturbances, against a normal of four to five, were observed across north India (5-10 June, 19-25 June and 26-28 June).

India recorded more than 40,000 suspected heatstroke cases and over 100 heat-related deaths in one of its hottest and longest heatwaves. The intense heat overwhelmed the water supply system and power grids, with Delhi grappling with a severe water crisis.

According to the IMD, around 40 per cent of the country recorded double the number of heatwave days than usual during the April-to-June period. Temperatures breached 50ºC in parts of Rajasthan, with night-time temperatures hovering around 35ºC in many places.

In Delhi, which logged 40 consecutive days of temperatures of above 40ºC since 13 May, there have been around 60 heat-related deaths this year, according to media reports.

The IMD had earlier predicted 10 to 20 heatwave days during the summer season against the normal of four to eight days. In contrast, 20 to 38 heatwave days were recorded in different parts of east, north and central India, including Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Gujarat.

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