TAMIL NADU

City records second highest temperature in 100 years

CHENNAI MAY 22. It was a record break that had many residents fretting and fuming on Thursday, as mercury soared beyond the 44-degree Celsius mark at both Nungambakkam and Meenambakkam, registering in the process, among the highest temperatures in the last 100 years.

Nungambakkam registered a maximum temperature of 44.4 Degrees Celsius and Meenambakkam registered 44.3 Degrees Celsius. The previous highest temperatures recorded in both the places were: Nungambakkam- 45 Degrees Celsius on May 21, 1910 and Meenambakkam- 44.3 Degrees Celsius on May 22, 1980.

It has been a steady increase in temperature over the last few days with the forecast for Friday reading a not very optimistic "markedly above normal".

Weathermen held that it was just a "characteristic increase in temperature in the second half of May".

In the 1990s, the highest was 44 degree Celsius at Nungambakkam and 44.2 degree Celsius at Meenambakkam, both temperatures recorded on May 30, 1998.

A pattern which had emerged over the last eight years of temperatures in May generally not exceeding 40 degree Celsius has been reversed this year, MET officials said.

In 1995, Nungambakkam registered the month's maximum temperature of 39.1 degree Celsius. The main reason for this feature was the depression that lashed the city during the first week of May 1995. During the year, on May 8, Nungambakkam received 12 cm rainfall.

In 1999, the month's maximum temperature was 39.8 degree Celsius, but the rainfall was not much.

During May, the normal rainfall is five cm. The record high 24 cm rainfall occurred on May 22, 1952, followed by 15 cm on May 8, 1990.

However, this year the hope of rains in May was belied when a depression, which formed off the Bay of Bengal, moved towards north Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.

With the prospect of sunnier days ahead, the city has to brace itself for a torrid time, and more critically, a scramble for water.

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