Delhi sizzles as temperatures cross 45C

A woman out on a hot day in Delhi's Pitampura locality on April 28, 2024
It's common to see Indians using umbrellas to shield from the heat [Getty Images]

Northern India, including capital Delhi, is reeling under a fierce heatwave with temperatures soaring above 45C over the weekend.

On Sunday, Najafgarh district in Delhi recorded a temperature of 47.8C, the highest in the country this season.

The weather department has said the heat spell is likely to continue this week.

The searing heat comes as India is holding its general election, the results of which will be declared on 4 June.

A vehicle of the Jaipur Municipal Corporation Heritage is spraying water mist to provide relief from the scorching sun on a hot summer day, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on May 15, 2024. (Photo by Vishal Bhatnagar/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Civic authorities sprayed water on a street in Jaipur city to provide relief from the heat [Getty Images]

Indian summers, which extend from March to September, are usually hot and humid.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said the country is likely to experience longer and more intense heatwaves this year.

On Saturday, temperatures crossed 45C in 10 locations in the National Capital Region (NCR), which encompasses Delhi and some districts from the neighbouring states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan.

The IMD has predicted that maximum temperatures in Delhi and other northern cities are likely to hover around 45-46C over Monday and Tuesday.

It has also predicted a fresh heat spell over parts of western and central India over the next few days.

Visitors at Humayun's Tomb in Delhi on May 19 when the maximum temperature was around 46C and the minimum was about 32C
The weather department has said that the heat spell is likely to continue through the week [Getty Images]
Commuters cover their faces with cloth to shelter from the heat on May 19 in Gurugram
Commuting becomes especially challenging during the hot summers [Getty Images]

Many Indian states, reeling under the heatwave, are also going to the polls this week.

On Monday, millions of voters will cast their votes in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar while Delhi will vote on 25 May.

The elections are being held in seven phases from 19 April to 1 June.

Many voters have expressed discomfort stepping out in the extreme heat. They say it's difficult standing in queues, especially for senior citizens.

India's election authorities have extended voting timings and have asked people to protect themselves against the heat while going to vote.

Families fill up empty water buckets with potable water from a New Delhi Municipal Council water tanker on May 02, 2024
Several parts of the country experience water shortages during summer [Getty Images]
A visitor takes a photo of the ice sculpture, melting under the heatwave in Delhi to show the impact of heatwaves across the country, as part of a protest staged by a Greenpeace activist at a mall in Delhi. The 8 foot tall sculpture shows a woman with a child and a dog - some of the most vulnerable communities affected by heatwaves and other extreme weather events
Greenpeace activists set up an ice sculpture in Delhi to highlight the impact of heatwaves across the country [Getty Images]

Summers have always been gruelling in many parts of India - especially in the northern and central regions.

A fruit vendor covers her head with a cloth while waiting for customers by a roadside on a hot summer day in Hyderabad on April 25
Summers are particularly challenging for street vendors and India's poor and homeless [Getty Images]

While some people use air-conditioners and water coolers to keep themselves cool, others, especially in the more distant towns, have devised their own ways of coping with the heat - from keeping water cool in earthen jugs to taking drinks made with raw mango pulp to ward off heat strokes.

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