New Delhi: As northern states brace up for the searing summers to begin in April, the latest India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast indicates that the maximum temperatures are likely to hover around normal at least till March-end.

While cooler than normal day temperatures are likely over major parts of northwest, central and western parts of the country, the night minimum temperatures are also expected to remain below normal in general by 2- 4ºC over major parts of India during next two weeks of the pre-monsoon season.

“The temperatures would begin to rise by 2-3°C from next week onwards, but they would still hover around normal (30°C), so people might not expect very hot days at least for now," said Kuldeep Srivastava, Head, Regional Weather Forecasting Centre (RWFC), New Delhi.

However, the southern states, especially the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Kerala would witness above normal day and night temperatures. As per forecast they could expect some respite during 20th – 23rd March when the temperature could fall to the near normal range.

“This time, we have seen intense activity of western disturbances, bringing rainfall across the plains. Three WDs have already hit the Himalayan region in March and two are expected in next few days," said Srivastava. The light showers in National Capital Region (NCR) has also improved the air quality levels to ‘moderate’.

According to IMD, a fresh feeble western disturbance is likely to bring isolated rain, snow over Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh on 17 th and 18 th March, followed by another one on 19 th and 20 th. However, their impact would not be felt much in the plains. But, rainfall in Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand would be above normal.

Other states like north Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, south Bihar and Gangetic West Bengal would witness widespread rainfall and thunderstorm till March 21, due to moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal.

IMD officials also indicated that an ‘active WD’ could develop only towards the 27th & 28th March, which could bring rainfall over north-western plains including Delhi, until then the rainfall activity is likely to be confined to east and northeast India in general.

In its seasonal outlook for March, April and May, the IMD had predicted the season averaged maximum temperatures in Himachal Pradesh, West Rajasthan, Konkan, Goa, Coastal Karnataka, Kerala and Arunachal Pradesh to be warmer than normal by 0.5 ºC to 1 ºC.