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15 extreme weather events in three months: Delhi's rough start to 2024

The report revealed that Delhi recorded 15 extreme weather events from January to March 2024, primarily cold days or cold waves. This marks an increase from the 12 events recorded during the same period in both 2023 and 2022.

15 extreme weather events in three months: Delhi's rough start to 2024 AJR
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First Published Jun 1, 2024, 1:29 PM IST

The Centre for Science and Environment's (CSE) State of Environment report for 2024 revealed that Delhi was among 12 states and Union territories (UTs) that experienced the highest number of extreme weather events in the first three months of 2024.

The report revealed that Delhi recorded 15 extreme weather events from January to March 2024, primarily cold days or cold waves. This marks an increase from the 12 events recorded during the same period in both 2023 and 2022.

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"From January to March 2024, at least 12 states/UTs, including Delhi, recorded their highest number of days with extreme weather events in the past three years," the report said.

Between January 1 and December 31, 2023, India faced extreme weather on 318 of the 365 days, resulting in 3,287 deaths and damaging 2.2 million hectares of crop area. The report sourced its data from the disaster management division of the Union Home Ministry, the India Meteorological Department, and media reports.

In Delhi, 14 of the 15 extreme weather events in 2024 were cold waves or cold days in January, with one incident of lightning and storm occurring on March 3. "As Delhi experiences blistering heat in May, the number of extreme events is expected to rise this year," a researcher noted.

Sunita Narain, Director General of CSE, commented, "Even as we are releasing this report, India is going through an intense heatwave. This is a time when we must understand the crisis of a changing climate. The data in this report provides clear evidence that heat is rising and extreme weather events are breaking the backs of the poorest in our world."

The report also highlighted that 2023 was India's second hottest year on record, with 102 weather stations across 26 of 36 states/UTs registering record-breaking temperatures. It was also a notably wet year, with 69 weather stations across 23 states/UTs recording unprecedented rainfall.

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In the first three months of 2023, lightning and storms were the most common extreme weather events in India. However, in 2024, cold waves or cold days have become the most frequent occurrences during this period. Despite this shift, hailstorms, often occurring alongside lightning and storms, continued to have a widespread impact across 25 states/UTs, while cold waves/cold days were reported in 13 states/UTs.

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