Scorching heatwave conditions gripped large swathes of the country on Saturday as the mercury crossed the 50-degree mark in Rajasthan's Churu, while several other places endured maximum temperatures markedly above normal with the weatherman saying there will be no respite until next week.
The national capital battled weather conditions in the "red category" as the maximum temperature recorded at the Palam observatory was 46.1 degrees, according to the India Meteorological Department. The Safdarjung observatory recorded a maximum of 43.5 degrees.
The India Meteorological Department on Friday issued the highest "red-colour" warning for the city. Mahesh Palawat of the Skymet Weather said heatwave conditions will persist in Delhi for another week and the maximum temperature will hover around 46 degrees Celsius.
Churu in the western part of the desert state of Rajasthan was the hottest placed in the country at 50.8 degrees Celsius, nine notches above normal, according to the met department office in Jaipur.
The entire state reeled under intense heatwave conditions with Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Kota recording their maximums at 49, 47.9, 47.2 and 46 degrees Celsius. Jodhpur, Jaipur and Barmer registered their maximum day temperatures at 45.6, 45.2, 44.5 degrees Celsius.
In Uttar Pradesh, the highest maximum temperature was recorded in Banda at 48.4 degrees Celsius. Several areas in the state reeled under heatwave conditions.
The IMD said heatwave to severe heatwave conditions are very likely to prevail over Rajasthan, Vidarbha and Madhya Pradesh during the next five days and over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi and south Uttar Pradesh during the next three.
A heat wave is usually declared when the maximum temperature remains above 45 degrees Celsius for two consecutive days.
Heatwave conditions intensified in Punjab and Haryana also, with Narnaul (Haryana) sizzling at 47.2 degrees Celsius. Hisar experienced blistering heatwave conditions at 45.6 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal, as per a meteorological department report.
In Punjab, Amritsar and Ludhiana reeled under severe heatwave conditions with 45.7 and 44.1 degrees Celsius, up by five degrees above normal, respectively. Union Territory Chandigarh, the common capital of Punjab and Haryana, sizzled at 42.4 degrees Celsius, three degrees above normal.
In the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, at least four places recorded their maximum temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius. The hottest place in the state was Una at 44.9 followed by Bilaspur 43, Hamirpur 40.6, Mandi 40.5 degrees Celsius.
However, capital Shimla and some other parts of the state got some relief from the scorching heat as thundershowers accompanied with gusty winds came towards the evening, Shimla MeT Centre Director Manmohan Singh said.
In the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Jammu city recorded a maximum of 43.6 degrees Celsius, 4.2 notches above season's average. While heatwave conditions continued throughout the day, there was a light duststorm in Jammu.
Elsewhere, the IMD said the maximum temperatures were markedly above normal (5.1 degrees or more) at many places over central Maharashtra and in some parts of Himachal Pradesh, west Rajasthan, east Madhya Pradesh and north interior Karnataka.
The maximum temperatures were 3.1*C-5.0*C above normal at most places in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, New Delhi, Vidarbha and Marathwada and at a few places over Rayalaseema and Kerala.
The heatwave condition continued to prevail in western part of Odisha while the coastal region encountered high humidity levels as 10 places in the state recorded maximum temperatures above 40 degree Celsius Saturday, IMD sources said.
Jharsuguda and Angul in the western region of the state recorded temperature of 42.6 degrees Celsius and 42.1 degrees Celsius, respectively.