In India's Capital, a 'Sweaty Mess'

One reading Wednesday in Delhi showed temps of around 126 degrees Fahrenheit, a record for the city
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2024 8:51 AM CDT
Delhi Temps Shatter Record, Lead to Water Shortage
A woman gives water to her child as they wait under the shade of a tree to cast her vote at a polling booth in India's national election in New Delhi, India, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

It was even hotter on Wednesday in New Delhi than experts had predicted it would be, and those temps led to a new record: 50.5 degrees Celsius, or nearly 123 degrees Fahrenheit, the Indian capital's hottest day ever, reports the Guardian. The mercury-busting stat was recorded in the suburb of Mungeshpur, according to the India Meteorological Department, which reported "severe heat-wave conditions." The agency says its reading was about 9 degrees (Celsius) higher than they'd anticipated. The Indian Express reports an even higher IMD reading on Wednesday afternoon: 52.3 degrees Celsius, or about 126 degrees Fahrenheit.

Even though the heat has been bad in India for weeks now, residents were still taken aback at just how hot this week has been. "Having a shower is almost a waste of time," one local chemistry teacher tells the Guardian. "You come out of it and instantly you are a sweaty mess again." Meanwhile, a welder says he can't work for hours during the most sweltering parts of the day, because "the metal rods I'm working with are too hot to touch."

NBC News reports that the IMD has issued a "red alert" to residents in and around Delhi, warning there's a "very high likelihood" that people will get heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses and calling for "extreme care" for the most vulnerable. CNN notes the water shortages that are plaguing the area as well, leading to water rationing throughout Delhi. The city already restricts water within its limits, but now, areas that typically receive water twice a day will receive that supply just once a day, so that it can be funneled to neighborhoods in even more dire straits, per a Delhi official. The IMD says the heat wave should start to subside by Thursday. (More Delhi stories.)

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