It was yet another day of scorching heat on Friday as mercury level remained above 40 degrees Celsius. Though the meteorological department’s records say the temperature was lower than on Thursday, Chennaiites said hot winds throughout the day did not help matters much.

The temperature settled at 40.6 degree Celsius at Nungambakkam, one degree lower than that recorded on Thursday. At Meenambakkam, the observatory registered 40.8 degree Celsius on Friday. The mercury level in the suburbs too peaked beyond 40 degree Celsius.

There were strong northwesterly winds from Rayalaseema region for most past of the day. Motorists faced a tough time in the blistering heat as the sea breeze set in only after 2.15 p.m.

The city has already experienced nine hot days so far as the mercury level soared beyond the 40-degree mark. Last year, the number of hot days during May was five.

Officials of the meteorological department said the highest maximum temperature for the month recorded last year was 41.7 degree Celsius on May 8. But, this year the temperature touched 42 degree Celsius on May 22.

The weak sea breeze that set in late did not last very long. The prolonged dry season and lack of sufficient summer rains also led to soaring mercury level, an official said.

However, there is a chance for increased clouding in the following days as forecasts predict thunderclouds during evening or night. The next two days, however, will continue to be hot and uncomfortable.

The sizzling weather had its impact on vegetables prices owing to poor harvest. Nizam Beevi, a resident of Purasaiwalkam, said she bought vegetables in small quantities and made mixed-vegetable curries to cope with rising prices. In the retail market, a quarter kg of beans cost Rs.18 and 100 grams of carrot was priced at Rs. 4. Broad beans and carrot cost Rs. 30 per kg in the wholesale market.

Wholesale vendors at Koyambedu market said the prices have remained high for the past two months. Vegetable prices increase every summer, but this year, they are 30 per cent costlier. Vendors said the prices were unlikely to come down until July.

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