Peak power demand hits record high in May; another heatwave this week

With a heatwave spell set to hit Delhi from May 13 to 15, the maximum temperature could settle at around 44 degrees Celsius on Friday, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast.

Delhi has already recorded three heatwave spells this summer, and the first such spell was recorded in March. While a ‘yellow’ alert has been issued for Friday and Saturday, an ‘orange’ alert has been issued for Sunday, when the maximum temperature could increase to around 45 degrees Celsius. A ‘yellow’ alert indicates the heat is “tolerable for the public, but is a moderate health concern for vulnerable people” including infants, the elderly and people with chronic diseases. An ‘orange’ alert is a severe heat alert that warns of “increased likelihood of heat illness symptoms in people exposed to the sun for prolonged periods”.

Meanwhile, Delhi’s power demand hit a peak of 6,780 MW on Thursday, which, according to sources, is the season’s highest so far, and also the highest ever peak recorded in May. The peak demand had increased in a day – from 6,572 MW on Wednesday. In 2020 and 2021, peak demand has not crossed the 6,000 MW mark in May. In 2019, the highest peak demand for May was 6,461 MW, lower than what was recorded Thursday.

On Thursday, a maximum temperature of 42.5 degrees was recorded at Safdarjung weather observatory, three degrees above normal for this time of the year. A heatwave is recorded when maximum temperature is 4.5 to 6.4 degrees above normal, and is 40 degrees Celsius or more. The maximum temperatures at CWG Sports Complex and at Aya Nagar hit 43.5 degrees, while maximum temperature at Najafgarh was at 44.7 degrees. At Mungeshpur, the maximum temperature was as high as 45.4 degrees. A western disturbance is likely to affect western Himalayan region from May 16. Consequently, partly cloudy skies are on forecast for Delhi from May 16 to 18, and maximum temperature could fall to around 40 degrees by May 18.

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