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May 21, 2024

Delhi Heatwave Crisis: IMD Issues Red Alert as Temperatures Soar Beyond 47 Degrees Celsius

Delhi is grappling with an extreme heatwave, with temperatures surpassing 47 degrees Celsius in various locations. In response, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a “red alert” for the next five days, signaling the severity of the situation.

The intense heat has prompted the Delhi government to mandate the closure of all schools. The Directorate of Education has directed both government and private aided schools to begin their summer break from May 11 to June 30. Despite this directive, some private schools remained operational amidst the severe conditions, compelling authorities to enforce their immediate closure.

The heatwave’s impact extends beyond human discomfort; the animals at Delhi’s National Zoological Park are also suffering, leading officials to intensify measures to ensure their welfare.

Record High Temperatures and Regional Impact

Najafgarh, a locality in Delhi, recorded the highest temperature at 47.8 degrees Celsius, making it the hottest spot in the city. This was closely followed by Agra in West Uttar Pradesh, which registered 47.7 degrees Celsius, marking the highest temperatures of this summer season so far. The entire northwest region of India, including northern Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, is under the grip of a severe heatwave, and the IMD forecasts that these conditions will persist in the coming days.

Regions including Haryana, Chandigarh, Punjab, West Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, and northwest Madhya Pradesh are facing significant heat stress. West Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and East Rajasthan are also experiencing substantial heat, with isolated parts of East Uttar Pradesh and northeast Madhya Pradesh affected as well.

Persistent Heatwave Conditions

The Gujarat region has been experiencing heatwave conditions since May 15, with Saurashtra and Kutch feeling the brunt since May 16. The heatwave’s reach extended to Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan from May 17 onwards. Some areas in Rajasthan have also recorded warm nights, exacerbating the discomfort.

Escalating Power Demand

The extreme temperatures have led to a spike in power demand, with India’s peak power demand approaching the anticipated level of 235 GW in May. This surge is attributed to the increased use of cooling appliances like air conditioners and desert coolers to combat the severe heat.

According to the Ministry of Power, the peak power demand met reached 233 GW on May 6, a significant increase from the 221.42 GW recorded a year earlier. The power ministry had earlier projected that daytime power demand would peak at 235 GW in May and 225 GW in the evening, with expectations for June 2024 set at 240 GW during the day and 235 GW in the evening.


As Delhi and other parts of India endure this extreme heatwave, the IMD’s red alert serves as a critical reminder of the dangers posed by such severe weather conditions. The government’s swift action in closing schools and the heightened care for zoo animals underscore the urgent need to protect both human and animal life. Meanwhile, the escalating power demand highlights the strain on resources, necessitating efficient energy management to cope with the soaring temperatures.

This heatwave crisis is a stark indicator of the broader impacts of climate change, emphasizing the need for sustainable solutions to mitigate such extreme weather events in the future.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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