Delhi on Wednesday experienced a severe heatwave with the maximum temperature settling at 43.5 degrees Celsius, which is seven degrees above normal for the season, PTI reported. It is also the highest recorded temperature this year so far, warmer than 43 degrees Celsius recorded on Tuesday.

For the plains, a heatwave is declared when the maximum temperature goes up to 40 degrees Celsius or more and is least at 4.5 degrees above normal. A severe heatwave is when the normal temperature is 6.5 degrees Celsius more than the normal.

“Usually, the capital witnesses heatwaves till June 20 and cooler temperatures thereafter,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, the head of the India Meteorological Department’s regional forecasting centre. “The increase in the maximum temperature this time can be attributed to the delay in the arrival of the monsoon.”

The weather department said the monsoon, which usually hits Delhi by June 27, is at least a week away. The last time the monsoon arrived so late in Delhi was on July 7, 2012.

Due to likely dry westerly or southwesterly winds from Pakistan to northwest India at lower levels, heatwave conditions are likely to remain over some parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan and West Uttar Pradesh during the next two days, the IMD said on Wednesday evening. It is also expected over western Madhya Pradesh on Thursday.

Light rainfall and a dust storm on Friday is expected to bring the mercury below 40 degrees Celsius in Delhi.

Meanwhile, the city’s power demand soared to 6,921 mega watt – the highest this year, the Hindustan Times reported.

“Wednesday’s demand crossed the season’s previous peak of 6,592 MW, recorded on Tuesday,” said a senior power department official. “In fact, the peak power demand has increased by around 5% in a matter of 24 hours. This year, Delhi’s peak power demand has already crossed last year’s peak of 6,314 MW on five occasions (June 30, 29, 28, 24, 23).”

With the soaring temperatures and people continuing to work from home because of the coronavirus crisis, the national Capital’s peak power demand is expected to be in the range of 7,000 MW to 7,400 MW, the official added.