Delhi tries to beat the heat, as temperature soars (Lead)

April 30th, 2009 - 6:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) Delhi literally sizzled Thursday as the mercury level crossed 42 degree Celsius by afternoon, with the citizens avoiding stepping out and the few who dared were well protected with umbrellas overhead and scarves around their faces.
“Despite covering my face with the dupatta (stole) and sipping water every now and then, I felt like I was literally roasted in the 20 minutes ride in the auto today,” said a hassled Ashima Verma.

A PR professional who often has to stay outdoors for work, Verma said that she is even more worried about her nine-year-old school going daughter.

“The heat has got me really worried about my daughter. Her summer vacations will begin only by mid-May. I am concerned that this daily commuting to and from school and playing outside in this heat may dehydrate her.

“Although I keep giving her glucose and juice at home, there is only so much that I can do… once she is out of my sight, she is on her own,” Verma told IANS.

Officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) Thursday said that the heat wave condition will persist over the next few days. While a day earlier, the maximum temperature touched 43.5 degrees Celsius — making it the hottest April day in 50 years — Thursday, at 2.30 p.m. Delhi recorded 42.2 degrees Celsius.

“The heat wave will continue. The maximum is likely to hover around the 43 degree mark,” an official of the IMD told IANS.

Meanwhile, the minimum temperature recorded in the early hours of Thursday was 24.3 degrees Celsius. The meteorological office said that the daytime temperatures may continue to rise as there is no sign of relief.

“There is no sign of rain - temperatures are likely to rise because of this,” the official added.

The hot westerly winds blowing from Rajasthan have increased day temperatures across northern India. The maximum temperatures are hovering five degrees above the average, the official said.

Raghu Kumar, a security guard, sitting with a table fan, said that all attempts to cool himself have failed.

“The hot winds have made things even worse. Even the fan does not work. Not just that, I wet a towel thinking that at least wrapping that on my shoulders will give me some respite, but that too dried within a matter of minutes!” Kumar said, fanning himself with a newspaper.

With power cuts playing the spoiler in some places and exams on their heads, a few students have resorted to making themselves comfortable in air-conditioned coffee shops with their books.

“What else can I do? I have an air cooler at home, but for the past 20 minutes there was a power cut, so I couldn’t even use that. That’s why I decided to come to Cafe Coffee Day, buy a coffee and sit comfortably with my books,” said Shagufta, a final year student of Delhi University.

In the Delhi Zoo, air coolers have been installed and dietary modifications were being made to help the animals cope with the heat.

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