NEW DELHI: It did not pour on the parade but thereafter Delhi saw its wettest Republic Day in a long time. The heavens opened up immediately after the celebrations at Rajpath, lashing the capital with heavy showers through the afternoon.
More than 23mm of rain was recorded by the evening, making Thursday the rainiest January day in the capital this century.
IMD’s weather records since 2000 accessed by TOI showed Thursday’s rain — 23.7mm recorded at Safdarjung from 8.30am to 5.30pm — was more than the previous wettest day in the month (21mm on January 18, 2013).
The rain was the result of a major weather system that hit north India, bringing widespread rain in the plains and heavy snow at many places in J&K, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Hailstorms were reported from Hisar, Jalandhar, Kapurthala and other parts of Punjab and Haryana.
“It was a very well marked and active western disturbance that resulted in moisture being sucked into Rajasthan and the rest of northwest India from the Arabian Sea,” said Ravinder Vishen, head of IMD’s Regional Weather Forecasting Centre.
The rain will result in a cool weekend in the capital, with temperatures returning to near-normal levels after remaining quite high for the past three days.
“The capital is unlikely to see very chilly weather because another western disturbance that’s likely to hit J&K on Sunday will prevent incursion of cold winds into NCR from the north,” Vishen added.
Several stations in the city recorded higher rain than Safdarjung on Thursday. Najafgarh saw 31mm, Ridge 29.3mm, Palam 28.7mm and Lodhi Road 29.3mm. The rain dampened the plans of many Delhiites who wanted to step out to enjoy the holiday.
Visitors at the Republic Day parade were not allowed to carry umbrellas to ground so they had to devise various ways of covering themselves when it started drizzling in the morning. Many used the Republic Day brochure as a hat.