Heatwave scorches north India; flash floods render many homeless in Tripura

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New Delhi, Jul 2 (PTI) Several states of north India reeled under heatwave on Friday, though scattered rains and cool winds brought some relief to people in Delhi, while in Tripura over 2,000 people were moved to relief camps due to flash floods in two districts.

The northeastern state is being battered by torrential rains for the last 48 hours and besides power and road infrastructure, crops have also been damaged. Though there was some respite for the national capital, temperatures in Punjab and Haryana were recorded above 40 degrees Celsius.

Churu in Rajasthan sizzled at 43.6 degrees Celsius, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), while it was 43.5 degrees Celsius in Haryana's Gurgaon, which falls in the Delhi-National Capital Region.

Dark grey clouds swarmed Delhi and cool-gusty winds barrelled through the capital on Friday evening, bringing down the mercury by a few notches. The city has been experiencing heatwave for the last four days.

The monitoring station at Palam recorded 26 mm rain, Lodhi Road 2.5 mm, and Safdarjung 0.4 mm precipitation, the meteorological (MeT) office said.

Cloudy skies and light rain are predicted for Saturday. The maximum temperature may drop by two degrees Celsius, the IMD said.

However, the relief is likely to be temporary.

The maximum temperature is predicted to hover around 40 degrees Celsius from Sunday to Wednesday next week and high humidity will add to discomfiture, it said.

On Thursday, Delhi had recorded a maximum of 43.1 degrees Celsius, the highest reading for July since 2012, on Wednesday, it was 43.6 degrees Celsius, the highest this year, and on Tuesday, it was 43 degrees Celsius.

The intensity of heatwave and its area coverage are likely to decrease starting Saturday due to expected south-westerly winds from the Arabian Sea. But there won't be much relief during the next seven days due to the increase in humidity, IMD Director General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said.

The IMD on Thursday had said that there was no chance of monsoon reaching Delhi till July 7.

In a bulletin, the IMD said rainfall was also recorded at a few places over Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Uttarakhand Heatwave prevailed in most of the parts Rajasthan, but 27 mm of rain was recorded in Alwar and 0.5 mm of rain in Dholpur.

The maximum temperature in 22 out of 33 districts of the state was 40 degrees Celsius or above, officials said.

They attributed the weather condition to the slow progress of the southwest monsoon.

The maximum temperature recorded in Churu was 43.6 degrees Celsius followed by 43 in Pilani, 42.8 in Sri Ganganagar, 42.7 in Karauli and 42.5 in Dholpur.

Though a few places in Haryana, including Rohtak and Bhiwani, reported rainfall in the evening, Punjab remained under the influence of hot weather conditions.

Gurgaon, which recorded its maximum temperature six notches above the normal, was the hottest place in Haryana, the MeT office said.

In Punjab, Patiala recorded a maximum temperature of 40.2 degrees Celsius, up five notches against the normal.

The IMD in the bulletin said prevailing meteorological conditions, large-scale atmospheric features and the forecast wind pattern suggest that no favourable conditions are likely to develop for further advance of monsoon into remaining parts of Rajasthan, West Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Punjab in the next five to six days.

Hence, subdued rainfall activity is very likely to continue to prevail over northwest, central and western parts of India, it said. In Tripura, at least 521 houses were partially damaged, 78 houses severely, and nine dwellings were almost swept away in Khowai and Sepahijala, he said.

'As many as 2,137 people were shifted to 20 relief camps on Thursday, but with the water now receding, the displaced families have started returning homes,' the officer in-charge (OC) of state emergency operation centre, Sarat Das, said.

According to Das, the loss incurred due to the flash flood has exceeded Rs 5 crore.

'Paddy fields, too, suffered damage. Apart from that, power cables snapped in some areas, disrupting electric supply,' Das said, adding that primary assistance has been extended to the affected families by the local administration.

The IMD said rain and thundershowers were observed at most places over sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and at many places over Chhattisgarh, Assam and Meghalaya. PTI TEAM ANB ANB

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