Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Record-Breaking Heatwave Hits Delhi with Temperatures Reaching 52.9°C

Unprecedented Heatwave in Indian Capital Brings Life to a Standstill

New Delhi experienced an unprecedented heatwave on Wednesday, with the temperature soaring to an all-time high of 52.9 degrees Celsius (127.22 Fahrenheit), causing severe disruptions and raising significant health concerns. This extreme heatwave has gripped the north and western parts of India, affecting daily life and leading to dire consequences.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) reported that Mungeshpur, a densely populated area in northwest Delhi, recorded temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, surpassing previous records. In response to these conditions, a heatwave alert has been in place across large parts of India since last week.

The capital city has previously experienced high temperatures, but the 52.9°C mark is unprecedented. Streets in Mungeshpur were deserted, with most shops closed as residents stayed indoors to escape the blistering heat. In Narela, locals handed out free cold drinks as temperatures soared to 49.9°C on Tuesday.

The Indian government declares a heatwave when the maximum temperature is 4.5°C to 6.4°C higher than usual, and a severe heatwave when it is 6.5°C higher than normal or more. In response to the heatwave, local authorities in Delhi have imposed restrictions on water supply, citing shortages, and introduced fines for wasting water, such as washing cars.

In the eastern state of Bihar, authorities directed schools to remain closed until June 8 after reports of students fainting due to the heat. Video footage by news agency ANI showed a girl lying on a classroom bench while teachers sprinkled her face with water and fanned her with a book.

The summer of 2024 has been notably hotter across Asia, a trend scientists attribute to human-driven climate change. In Rajasthan, central India, temperatures have also reached 50°C in some districts, with government data showing four deaths since March and 451 cases of heatstroke reported on Wednesday alone.

In stark contrast, parts of northeastern India have been devastated by heavy rains following cyclone Remal. Mizoram has reported at least 27 deaths due to the collapse of a stone quarry and multiple landslides.

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