National capital New Delhi reeled under a "severe" heatwave on the day of Holi as the maximum temperature shot up to 40.1 degree Celsius, making it the hottest day in March in 76 years, the India Meteorological Department said. The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides representative data for the city, recorded a maximum temperature of 40.1 degree Celsius, eight notches more than normal, said Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the IMD's regional forecasting centre.
"It was the hottest day in March since March 31, 1945, when Delhi recorded a maximum of 40.5 degree Celsius. Low wind speed and plenty of sun due to clear skies over the last three to four days led to high temperatures," Srivastava said.
The city had recorded a maximum of 39.6 degree Celsius on March 29, 1973, the third hottest day in March. The weather stations at Najafgarh, Narela, Pitampura and Pusa recorded maximum temperatures of 41.8 degree Celsius, 41.7 degree Celsius, 41.6 degree Celsius, and 41.5 degree Celsius, the IMD said.
The city's minimum temperature settled at 20.6 degree Celsius, three notches more than normal. For the plains, a "heatwave" is declared when the maximum temperature is more than 40 degree Celsius, and at least 4.5 notches above normal. A "severe" heatwave is declared if departure from normal temperature is more than 6.5 degree Celsius, according to the IMD.
Srivastava said strong winds, gusting up to 35 kilometres per hour, will bring the maximum temperature down to around 38 degree Celsius on Tuesday. The IMD said that the temperature will decrease over the weekend and reach 37 degrees by Sunday. The maximum on Tuesday is likely to be 38 degree Celsius.
(Inputs from PTI)