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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Celsius sprint scorches state

- Residents apprehend gruelling summer

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 8: Makeshift lassi shops have started springing up in the capital and ice-lollies are once again in demand. For February is no longer cool with the mercury hovering around 34C though the month has just begun.

Bhubaneswar recorded a maximum temperature of 34C yesterday and the blazing sun has people keeping their fingers crossed about the summer ahead. There was slight respite for the city residents today when the mercury slipped to 30.1C.

Officials of the meteorological department attributed the sudden increase in day temperature to a change in wind pattern. The state used to receive northeasterly cold winds, which resulted in lower day temperature. But over the past 48 hours, the state received southwesterly hot winds, which led to rise in day temperature, said director of regional meteorological centre Sarat Chandra Sahu.

The temperature in the last three days made me reach for my AC remote, said Sonali Mohapatra, a homemaker.

Statistics available with the regional meteorological centre here shows that the capital has been experiencing a warm February over the last five years. Though the mean maximum temperature for the month recorded between 1971 and 2000 stands at 31.5C, in the last decade the citys temperature has even crossed 40C mark.

The weather gods must be crazy. The days are hot and nights, cold. This is a desert-like situation, said Prafulla Mishra, a teacher.

The weatherman said that the lack of fog formation has also resulted in deep penetration of sunrays. Though the city witnessed a rise in day temperatures due to dense fog conditions in the first week of this month, the sunrays were not penetrative enough to cause discomfort.

It is only February and the temperature has already started to affect us. Thankfully, it is not humid and sweaty so far but we fear that the summer might be harsher than last year, said Janmejay, a college student.

Last summer, the maximum temperature of the city had touched an all-time record high of 46.7C on June 5, beating the previous maximum temperature of 46.5C registered on May 22, 1972.

Met officials said the night temperatures would not fluctuate much during this month.

It is likely to be constant. In fact, residents might need to wrap themselves in thin sheets as the night will be pleasantly cool, said an official.