The patience test for the rains took a macabre turn on Thursday with Patna registering the highest temperature of the season. If that was not cruel enough, it was also the hottest day in the past 10 years (see graphics).
At 2.30pm on Thursday, the temperature was 45.5°C — eight notches above normal. The discomfort index was 71°C. Weathermen said Patna had managed to hit the hottest day record because of a ghastly cocktail of scorching westerly winds and low moisture content in the air.
Ashish Sen, director (radar), India Met Department, Patna, told The Telegraph: “The maximum temperature today (Thursday) was the highest this summer. A rising trend was observed in the maximum temperature over the past few days and the temperature soared to 45.5°C in the afternoon because of less moisture in the air. Till 11.30am, the maximum temperature was 41.5°C, which was almost equal to Wednesday’s temperature at that time. But a sudden fall in the moisture-level led to a sharp and steady northward movement in the mercury column over the next two hours. High solar radiation caused the rise in temperature.”
Before Thursday, the highest maximum temperature recorded in Patna over the past 10 years was 45°C on June 21, 2005.
Residents of the state capital felt the acute pinch of heat. Most of them stayed at home. Streets that remain choc-a-bloc on other days wore an empty look on Thursday.
Jagdeo Path resident Ashish Ranjan said: “The heat was unbearable. I couldn’t stay out of home for even a few minutes as I started to sweat profusely. At home, it was equally uncomfortable as the floor and walls got very hot.”
The low moisture content in the air added to the discomfort. Sen said the moisture-level around 12noon on Thursday was 19 per cent. It should normally be around 40 to 45 per cent. “The relative humidity on Thursday was 13 per cent less than what was recorded on Wednesday. Low moisture content raised the discomfort index to 71°C. The hot westerly wind added to discomfort,” said Sen.
There will be no relief from the heat in the next couple of days, as the temperature is expected to remain high.
“The south-west monsoon is yet to reach Odisha. It will take couple of more days to reach Bihar after crossing Gangetic Bengal and Jharkhand,” said Sen.