Indian city hits 51ºC, setting new heat record

NEW DELHI, May 20 — A city in northern India has shattered the national heat record, registering a searing 51ºC — the highest since records began — the weather office said today.

The new record in Phalodi, a city in the desert state of Rajasthan, is the equivalent of 123.8ºF and comes as a heatwave sweeps the nation.

It tops a previous record of 50.6ºC set in 1956.

“Yesterday (Thursday) was the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country… 51ºC in Phalodi,” said BP Yadav, a director of the India Meteorological Department, told AFP today.

Temperatures in northern India regularly hit the high 40s in May and June — the hottest months of the year — but topping 50º is unusual.

The weather office has issued warnings of “severe heat wave” conditions across large parts of India’s northern and western regions through the weekend.

India declares a heatwave when the maximum temperature hits 45ºC, or 5º higher than the average for the area in previous years. — AFP