Weather: IMD's severe heatwave alert in 4 states; Delhi sets record with 47.4 degrees Celsius

Several state governments have asked schools to declare holidays for a few days

ASIA-WEATHER/INDIA-HEATWAVE Workers drink water as they take a break at a construction site on a hot summer day in New Delhi | Reuters

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a severe heatwave red alert for the states of Delhi Punjab, Haryana, and the capital, Chandigarh as temperatures soar across Northwest India.

The weather agency forecasted continued heatwave to severe heatwave conditions over the next five days. "Heatwave to severe heatwave conditions is most likely to continue over plains of Northwest India and heatwave conditions over north Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat during the next five days," an IMD post read. 

This comes as the maximum temperature touching 47.4 degrees Celsius in Najafgarh in the national capital -- the highest in the country on Monday. The temperature continued above 45 degrees Celsius in large parts of Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh and Uttar Pradesh.

Heatwave conditions are also expected over parts of Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat, Saurashtra, and Kutch on May 23.

According to senior IMD scientist Naresh Kumar, the current situation will prevail for the next week. "Generally, May is considered the hottest month. If there is no rainfall activity in North India, then the temperature normally crosses 45 degrees Celsius. It is forecast that this situation will prevail for the next week. This scenario will continue for the next five days in Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana. We have issued a red alert. A heatwave situation will exist in UP for the next three to four days. Heatwaves will also prevail in North MP. We have issued an orange alert for the region," he said

The heatwave threw life out of gear in the national capital and other states, with people staying indoors. Low-income households, which often have poor access to water and cooling, and outdoor workers toiling in the searing sun suffered as the temperature peaked.

Schools shut

Several state governments have asked schools to declare holidays for a few days. The Delhi government directed the schools that have not closed for summer vacations to do so with immediate effect. 

A circular issued by the state said the city government's Directorate of Education said all schools were directed to observe summer vacation from May 11 to June 30 for this academic year.

The Punjab government announced summer holidays in all government, aided and private schools from May 21 to June 30 amid severe heatwave conditions.

Rains in South

While heat wave lashes North, the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu received heavy rains on Monday, an indication of the southwest monsoon's onset later this month. 

The IMD on Monday sounded an orange alert in Kerala's s Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Malappuram and Kozhikode districts.


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