North India reels under intense heatwave; red alert issued for Rajasthan districts

Searing heatwave gripped North India as temperatures crossed 45 degrees Celsius in many parts, while pockets of Delhi saw an upwards of 47 degrees Celsius, with little relief expected in the next couple of days. Jammu recorded the season’s hottest day at 43.5 degrees Celsius, while a red alert has been sounded for several districts of Rajasthan where Dholpur turned into a hot cauldron on Saturday with mercury rising to 48.5 degrees Celsius.

In Delhi, the mercury reached a near unbearable high of 47.2 degrees Celsius at Mungeshpur and 47 degrees Celsius at Najafgarh, both at least seven notches above the normal.

The Safdarjung Observatory, Delhi’s base station, recorded a maximum temperature of 44.2 degrees Celsius, which was five notches above the normal and the highest this season so far. The mercury rose to 46.9 degrees Celsius at Sports Complex, 46.4 degrees Celsius at Pitampura, 45.8 degrees Celsius at Jafarpur and 45.4 degrees Celsius at Ridge and Ayanagar.

All weather stations in the capital recorded a heatwave day, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Weather forecasters predicted the heatwave spell to worsen on Sunday even as they issued an ‘orange’ alert to caution people. This is the fifth heatwave in the capital this summer.

The IMD uses four colour codes for weather warnings — green (no action needed), yellow (watch and stay updated), orange (be prepared) and red (take action).

With scanty rains owing to feeble western disturbances, Delhi had recorded its second hottest April this year since 1951 with a monthly average maximum temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius.

The IMD said a thunderstorm or a dust storm is likely in the national capital on Monday.

As far as the water supply is concerned, officials said the production capacity at Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla water treatment plants had reduced to 85 per cent and that it could further decrease to 75 per cent on Sunday.

A Delhi Jal Board official said it has already resorted to water rationing.

Meanwhile, in Rajasthan, 23 cities recorded maximum temperature above 44 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

Sriganganagar recorded 48.3 degrees Celsius followed by 48.2 degrees in Bikaner, 47.9 degrees in Karauli, 47.8 degrees in Sangaria, 47.5 degrees in Churu, 47.4 degrees each in Jaisalmer and Phalodi, 47.3 degrees each in Alwar and Pilani, 47 degrees in Nagaur, 46.9 degrees in Sawai Madhopur, 46.8 in Anta, 46.5 in Bundi. Jaipur recorded 45.6 degrees Celsius.

The department has forecast for severe heat wave condition (red alert) in Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, Bikaner and Churu districts on Sunday. An orange alert for severe heat wave condition has been issued for Sunday for Jhunjhunu, Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli, Sawai Madhopur, Bundi, Kota, Barmer, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Nagaur districts.

In Haryana, Gurugram was the hottest place, recording a high of 46.8 degrees Celsius, while Ambala,

, Karnal, Rohtak, Narnaul, Bhiwani and Sirsa recorded their respective maximum temperatures of 44, 46, 43.2, 46.6, 45.5, 45.4 and 46.4 degrees Celsius.

Chandigarh, the common capital of Punjab and Haryana, registered mercury at 43.6 degrees Celsius, up by three degrees above normal.

In Punjab, Bathinda recorded its maximum at 46 degrees Celsius while Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Pathankot and Gurdaspur recorded their respective maximums of 45.6, 45, 44, 43.8 and 43.5 degrees Celsius.

In Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu recorded its hottest day of the season so far with the mercury touching 43.5 degrees Celsius on Saturday as the heatwave intensified engulfing most parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The maximum temperature in Jammu city was 6.6 degrees above season’s average, forcing people to stay indoors especially in the afternoon. Jammu recorded a minimum temperature of 23.3 degrees Celsius which is almost near normal during this part of the season, an official of the meteorological department said.

He said Katra, the base camp for the pilgrims visiting the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, was the second hottest recorded place in the region with a high of 40.4 degrees Celsius and a low of 23.9 degrees Celsius.

The mercury is also on the rise over the past couple of days in Kashmir where Srinagar recorded a maximum of 31.3 degrees Celsius, which is 7.4 notches above normal, the official said, indicating a heatwave in different parts of the valley.

The weatherman has predicted relief from the heatwave from Monday evening owing to inclement weather.

“There is a possibility of continuation of the dry and clear weather till May 16.

Widespread moderate rain or thunderstorm with hail storm at some places and snow over higher reaches is most likely during May 16 (evening) till May 18,” the official said.

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