Indian city reaches record 51C in heatwave

Temperatures in the Indian city of Phalodi, in the desert state of Rajasthan and more than 600km west of the capital New Delhi, has hit a recorded 51C.

People refresh themselves from the heat on a hot afternoon, off the coast of Arabian sea in Mumbai, India.

People refresh themselves from the heat on a hot afternoon, off the coast of Arabian sea in Mumbai, India. Source: EPA

A searing heatwave across north and western India has intensified with a city in the region shattering the national heat record at 51C, weather officials say.

Phalodi, in the desert state of Rajasthan, located over 600 kilometres west of New Delhi, saw the highest temperature ever recorded in the country on Thursday, India Meteorological Department chief LS Rathore said.

The previous record was 50.6C, registered in Alwar in the same state in 1956.

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Temperatures have reached between 45C and 50C during the heatwave. Authorities issued warnings to people to avoid going out in the midday sun and to drink lots of fluids.

"It has been observed that there is a persistent increase in temperatures every year across northern, western and central India over the last 15-16 years. We think this is due to the global warming phenomenon, with extreme weather events a subset of this trend," Rathore said on Friday.

Several cities and towns in Rajasthan and adjoining Gujarat state also broke records, registering temperatures above 48C.

Intense conditions hitting at least 45C were reported from national capital Delhi as well as many other states. Hundreds of people are reported to have died because of the heatwave since last month, although official figures are unavailable.

A heatwave last June killed more than 2500 people in India and around 1400 in Pakistan.

The heat this year was likely to continue for another week, Rathore said.


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Published 20 May 2016 at 10:40pm
Source: AAP