Image credit: Tribune India

On Monday morning, a thunderstorm in India’s capital, Delhi, prompted a sharp drop in hot temperatures and power outages in various locations.

Heavy rains also caused traffic bottlenecks in the city and disrupted flights at Delhi International Airport.

Since March, Delhi and other portions of northern India have been experiencing extreme heat.

Temperatures in several parts of the capital reached a new high of 49.2C (120.5F) earlier this month.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted “pretty widespread rainfall activity” this week throughout Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, and Uttar Pradesh. It went on to say that the cause was a western disturbance – a storm that originated in the Mediterranean – and the cyclonic circulation that came with it.

Heavy rains and winds of up to 70 km/h were reported in Delhi and the surrounding areas on Monday (43.4mph).

Between 5.40 a.m. and 7 a.m. on Monday, the surface temperature in Delhi dropped 11 degrees, from 29 to 18 degrees, according to the IMD.

This was the city’s coldest temperature so far this month. Over the weekend, mild rain fell in parts of the capital and nearby areas.

Summer arrived early this year in northern India, with consecutive heatwaves disrupting millions of people’s lives and livelihoods.

Heatwaves are normal in India in May and June, but this year they started in March, with average maximum temperatures reaching new highs.

The IMD reported that between March and May, Delhi had only four to five thunderstorms, compared to the usual 12–14.

Many Delhiites resorted to social media to express their delight at the long-awaited rain. Northern India is unlikely to see another heatwave very soon, according to Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist of private weather forecaster Skymet Weather Services. However, flooding and tree uprooting caused traffic problems in certain sections of Delhi.

The IMD warned that the thunderstorm will reduce visibility and cause damage to vulnerable structures.

Some passengers were allegedly stranded at Delhi airport after the storm disrupted airline operations.

According to the airport’s website, some 60 flights were delayed or cancelled owing to inclement weather and other challenges.

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