Chandigarh, April 17
The city continued to sizzle today with the mercury shooting up to 42.6 degree celsius (°C), the highest one till date since 1980. The Met office said there was no respite in sight from the heat with the mercury likely to touch 44 °C in a couple of days.

Today’s maximum temperature of 42.6 °C was eight degrees above normal while the minimum of 24.3 °C was five notches above the normal temperature for this time of the year. The maximum temperature yesterday was 41.5 °C, which was also six degrees above normal while the minimum was recorded at 23 °C.

While Patiala and Ludhiana in Punjab experienced a maximum of 44.6 °C and 43.5 respectively; Ambala recorded a maximum of 43.4 and Hissar sizzled at 45.8 in Haryana. Citizens avoided stepping out and the few who dared were well protected with umbrellas overhead and scarves around their faces.

‘Despite covering my face with the dupatta (stole) and sipping water every now and then, I felt like I was literally roasted in the 20-minute ride on my scooter today,’ said a hassled Ashima Verma.

“The hot winds have made things even worse. Fans are no longer effective. Not just that, I wet a towel thinking that at least wrapping that on my shoulders will give me some respite. But that too dries up within a matter of minutes!’ Jugal Rana, a shopkeeper in Behlana village, said while fanning himself with a newspaper.

With unscheduled power cuts playing the spoiler in some sectors of the city and with college exams on, a few students have resorted to making themselves comfortable in air-conditioned coffee shops with their books.

The humidity levels were, however, low in the city at a maximum of 39 per cent and minimum of 16 per cent.

Officials of the Met department said the heat-wave condition would persist over the next few days. While a day earlier, the maximum temperature touched 41.5 °C - making it the hottest April day in 27 years - today, at 2.30 pm. the city recorded 42.2 °C. Nights were likely to be hotter, they added.

It was also reported that in the Chhatbir zoo, air coolers have been installed and dietary modifications were being made to help the animals cope with the heat.

The Met department has forecast partly cloudy sky with possibility of thunders towards afternoon and evening tomorrow. The maximum temperature is likely to hover around the 42 °C and the minimum 27 °C mark in the next 24 hours,’ it added.

Source: Tribune News Service