New Delhi:
 India recorded its warmest March in 122 years with a severe heatwave scorching large swathes of the country in the month, the India Meteorological Department said on Saturday.

The weather department attributed the unusual heat to the lack of rainfall due to the absence of active western disturbances over north India and any major system over south India.

The country as a whole recorded a rainfall of 8.9 mm, which was 71 per cent less than its long period average rainfall of 30.4 mm. It was also the third-lowest precipitation in March since 1901 after 7.2 mm in 1909 and 8.7 mm in 1908.

“Over the country as a whole, the average maximum temperature (33.10 degrees Celsius) recorded in March 2022 is the highest ever in the last 122 years,” the IMD said in a statement.

In March 2010, the country had recorded a maximum temperature of 33.09 degrees Celsius.

The MeT department said the country’s average mean temperature of 26.67 degrees Celsius in March was the second-highest after 26.671 degrees Celsius recorded in March 2010.

The countrywide average minimum temperature of 20.24 degrees Celsius in March this year was the third-highest in 122 years after 20.26 degrees Celsius in 1953 and 20.25 degrees Celsius in 2010.

In Northwest India, the average maximum temperature (30.73 degrees Celsius) is the highest in the last 122 years. March 2004 saw an average maximum temperature of 30.67 degrees Celsius.

The average minimum temperature of 15.26 degrees Celsius was the second-highest in the region. March 2010 had a mean minimum temperature of 15.4 degrees Celsius, it said.

Northwest India recorded 5.2mm of rainfall against a normal of 47.5 mm, a shortfall of 89 per cent. Central India saw 87 per cent less rainfall during the month, gauging only 1.1mm of precipitation against a normal of 8.4 mm.

The IMD said the heatwave spell is likely to continue over Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh over the next two to four days.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall is predicted over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya from April 2 to April 4 with isolated extremely heavy rainfall over Meghalaya over the next two days.

Also read | How fast can we stop Earth from warming?

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