The city wilted under a merciless sun on Satuday as heat wave conditions prevailed in parts of north coastal Tamil Nadu, south coastal Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
Meteorological Department officials warned that similar conditions would continue for the next two days in the city, as well as in northern coastal parts of the State.
The forecast for next 48 hours reads: “The sky conditions would be partly cloudy. Thunderclouds may develop towards evening or night. Uncomfortable hot day would prevail. Maximum temperature would be around 42 degree Celsius.”
R.B. Saravanan, a resident of Nungambakkam, said: “Driving a motorcycle on the road was unusually tiring on Saturday because of the intense heat.”
As the temperature rose to 41.5 degree Celsius in Nungambakkam and 43.4 degree Celsius in Meenambakkam, residents walking on roads struggled to cope with the scorching heat.
This was four degrees above average in Nungambakkam and five degrees above the average in Meenambakkam. The high levels of humidity in coastal areas, compounds the problem.
On Saturday, the relative humidity was 90 per cent in Nungambakkam while the Meenambakkam observatory recorded a relative humidity of 81 per cent because of its longer distance from the coast. It takes more than one hour for the sea breeze to cross Meenambakkam.
Finding ways to remain cool and avoiding the outdoors during the hottest part of the day is a challenge for persons whose work requires they be on the move.
Though many complained that the heat was becoming intense, officials at the Meteorological Department said the temperature has not yet crossed the highest recorded temperature of 45 degree Celsius on May 31, 2003.
According to public health professionals at the Chennai Corporation, hospitals have started treating a range of health problems — from dehydration to infections contracted at swimming pools.
Experts stressed the need to prevent dehydration by drinking lots of water, as dehydration leads to general weakness and makes people more susceptible to many viral infections.
Chennai recorded the highest temperature among the four metros in the country on Saturday, according to data available with the India Meteorological Department. Kolkata recorded 39.2 degree Celsius, Mumbai 33 degree Celsius and New Delhi 40.8 degree Celsius.