Severe heatwave hits nation, warnings issued

NEW DELHI: Temperatures topped 48 degrees Celsius as a heatwave gripped large swathes of northern, western and central India, news reports and officials said on Friday.
The Meteorological Department said there were “heatwave to severe heatwave conditions” across Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan as well as the Maharashtra and central Madhya Pradesh.
The highest temperature of the summer season was recorded in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar, where the mercury shot up to 48.8 degrees Celsius on Friday, private forecasting agency Skymet Weather said on Twitter. The capital New Delhi recorded the hottest temperature in May since 2013, at 46.8 degrees Celsius on Thursday, it said.
Heatwave conditions were expected to continue until at least Tuesday in most of these parts, officials said, asking people to avoid going outdoors in the afternoon, keep their heads covered, wear loose clothing and drink lots of fluids.
With intense heatwave sweeping Punjab and Haryana, Sirsa and Bathinda towns on Friday recorded a maximum temperature of 46 degrees Celsius.
The maximum temperature in most parts of Punjab and Haryana was two to five degrees above normal, an official of the India Meteorological Department said.
Amritsar city in Punjab recorded a high of 45 degrees, while it was 45.1 degrees in Ludhiana. In Chandigarh, the maximum temperature recorded was 44.2 degrees.
Hisar and Bhiwani towns in Haryana were the hottest at 45 degrees Celsius, while it was 44.5 degrees in Narnaul.
The Met department said the heatwave in the two states will persist till June 3.
Meanwhile, as the maximum temperature rose to a sweltering 44.1 degrees Celsius on Friday, Jammu city witnessed the hottest day of the season so far.
Sonam Lotus, the Director of the Met office, said: “As the maximum temperature rose to 44.1 degrees Celsius today, Jammu city recorded the hottest day of the season so far.
“Hot and dry weather conditions are likely to continue in Jammu region during the next three days as no major change in weather is expected during this period.”
Lotus said it is normal for the maximum temperatures to rise above 40 degrees during the month of May in Jammu region.
“During the last 37 years the maximum temperature in Jammu in the month of May has crossed 47 degrees Celsius only in 1984 and 1988,” Lotus said.
Roads, markets and public places looked deserted during the day’s sweltering heat in Jammu city as most residents preferred to remain indoors to avoid sun stroke and dehydration. — dpa/IANS