Temperature in Indian city of Phalodi hits 51 deg C, setting new heat record

A man sitting under the shade of a tree on a roadside with his face covered with a handkerchief in Amritsar, India, on May 11, 2016. A city in the desert state of Rajasthan, Phalodi, has shattered the national heat record.
A man sitting under the shade of a tree on a roadside with his face covered with a handkerchief in Amritsar, India, on May 11, 2016. A city in the desert state of Rajasthan, Phalodi, has shattered the national heat record. PHOTO: EPA

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A city in northern India has shattered the national heat record, registering a searing 51 deg C - the highest since records began - the weather office said on Friday (May 20).

The new record in Phalodi, a city in the desert state of Rajasthan, is the equivalent of 123.8 Fahrenheit and comes as a heatwave sweeps the nation.

It tops a previous record of 50.6 deg C set in 1956.

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"Yesterday (Thursday) was the hottest temperature ever recorded in the country... 51 degrees in Phalodi," said Mr B.P. Yadav, a director of the India Meteorological Department.

Temperatures in northern India regularly hit the high 40s in May and June - the hottest months of the year - but topping 50 deg C is unusual.

The weather office has issued warnings of "severe heat wave" conditions across large parts of India's northern and western regions through the weekend.

India declares a heatwave when the maximum temperature hits 45 deg C, or five degrees higher than the average for the area in previous years.