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Searing heat across plains, hills; no respite Saturday
Friday May 24, 2013 10:30 PM, IANS

Searing summer heat continued to scorch the plains and hills across north India as temperatures remained over 45 degree Celsius Friday. There will be no respite from the intense heat Saturday, the weather office said.

Delhi reeled under blistering temperature that shot up to five notches above the season's average at 45 degrees Celsius.

"It felt I was getting baked by the hot winds while riding my scooter," said Ravi Kumar, who travels to south Delhi's Lajpat Nagar from east Delhi everyday.

While the minimum temperature settled three notches above average at 25.5 degrees Celsius in the national capital, the humidity wavered between a high of 45 and low of 22 percent.

"My room cooler did not help," said Rama Singh, a housewife.

According to the Met department, Saturday's maximum and minimum temperatures in Delhi are likely to hover around 45 and 31 degrees Celsius respectively.

Thursday was the hottest day in Delhi in the past 10 years with the maximum temperature recorded 45.7 degrees Celsius, six notches above average.

The temperature recorded in Sriganganagar in Rajasthan was 48.6 degrees Celsius and at Nagpur in Maharashtra was 46.6.

Even in the hilly Shimla and Manali in Himachal Pradesh, the maximum temperatures were 30.8 degrees Celsius and 31.2 respectively Thursday, a Met department official.

The Sikh holy city of Amritsar in Punjab Thursday recorded its highest temperature in over three decades with the mercury hitting a high of 48 degrees Celsius as severe heat wave conditions prevailed across the plains of Punjab and Haryana.

As per data with the local administration in Amritsar, the highest recorded temperature in the city was 47.7 degrees Celsius May 21, 1978.

There is more to the sizzling heat in Delhi than rising temperatures. Scientists have found unusually high levels of toxic ozone in the city in the past two weeks.

Exposure to high levels of ozone induces adverse effects not only on health but damages vegetation and eco-systems, according to scientists.

"Delhi's air is known to get polluted mainly due to the rise in particulate matters which can be felt when visibility becomes poor on extreme days," Gufran Beig of Pune's Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) told IANS.

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