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India roasts as mercury hits 51°C

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William Ewing
May 20, 2016 09:59
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Those readers with a tendency to wilt with rising temperatures are advised to steer clear of the Indian state of Rajasthan, where the mercury yesterday hit a blistering 51 C.

The city of Phalodi broke India's previous record of 50.6 C, registered in 1956, during a heatwave which has seen the country's north and west suffer weeks of temperatures above 40 C. India's Meteorological Department warns things aren't expected to be any less infernal today, but forecasts some relief over the weekend and going into next week.

The Indian definition of a "heatwave" is a maximum of 45 C, or "five degrees higher than the average for the area in previous years", as the BBC puts it.

Blighty similarly uses the "five degrees" standard for declaring a heatwave, specifically the World Meteorological Organization's determination that it's "when the daily maximum temperature of more than five consecutive days exceeds the average maximum temperature by 5 C, the normal period being 1961-1990".

The British press will, of course, trumpet a absolute sizzler if thermometers register anything over 25 C for a single weekend of unbroken sunshine.

The papers must have exhausted an entire year's worth of phew scorcher headlines when the UK record high of 38.5 C was recorded on 10 August 2003 in Faversham, Kent.

Back in India, relief from the heat is expected when the annual monsoon hits.

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William Ewing
May 20, 2016 09:59
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