India records its hottest temperature ever amid severe heat wave

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(NEW DELHI, INDIA) — One of the hottest countries on Earth has recorded its highest temperature ever.

India recorded a temperature of 52.3 degrees Celsius — or about 126 degrees Fahrenheit — on Wednesday afternoon at a weather station in Mungeshpur, a suburb of New Delhi, according to the India Meteorological Department.

The temperature soared to more than 9 degrees Celsius higher than expected, according to the IMD.

Hot winds from northwestern India contributed to the hotter-than-expected temperatures, ABC News partner New Delhi Television (NDTV) reported.

The previous record at the Mungeshpur station occurred in 2002 — 49.2 degrees Celsius (120.6 degrees Fahrenheit), according to NDTV. The previous record for hottest temperature recorded in India was in 2016, in Rajasthan, — 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the IMD.

The India Meteorological Department released a severe heat wave warning for the region as a result of the forecast. Heat waves in India are considered “severe” once temperatures reach 6.5 degrees Celsius higher than normal.

A red alert health noticed was also issued in New Delhi, indicating a “very high likelihood of developing heat illness and heat stroke in all ages” for vulnerable groups within the region’s population of 30 million.

Local government officials set limits on water usage, citing a shortage, and threatened to fine those using water unnecessarily, such as to wash a car, 2,000 rupees — or $24 — Reuters reported.

Rain forecast in New Delhi for Wednesday evening could raise humidity levels, according to the IMD.

India is one of the hottest countries in Asia, known for its tropical climate and long-lasting summer conditions. The early-season high temperatures could be a predicator to a scorching summer to come.

Copernicus, Europe’s climate change service, has recorded 11 consecutive months of record-warm temperatures — a trend that is likely to continue once the month of May has concluded.

Rising global temperatures are leading to longer and more frequent heat waves, according to climate scientists.

Sweltering heat that occurred across Asia in late April was 45 times more likely because of climate change, according to a study by the World Weather Attribution.

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