TAMIL NADU

Vellore touches 45 degree C, heat wave will continue

CHENNAI May 22. The mercury continued to soar, touching new heights for the season. Chennai crossed the 44-degree Celsius barrier yet again, with Nungambakkam recording 44.4 degrees Celsius today — 111.9 degree F, highest this season, and the second highest in the last 100 hundred years.

The Weather office said heat wave conditions would continue for a couple of days in north Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, as the westerly winds were still strong.

As the land breeze took the upper hand, the sea breeze set in only at 2.20 p.m., resulting in a further increase in the maximum temperature recorded for the day. So long as the "strong westerlies" persisted, the advance of the southwest monsoon could be delayed. The monsoon was expected to set in at least 10 days in advance this year. It had advanced up to the Andamans, where it was stopped in its tracks.

Vellore remained at the top, reporting 45 degrees Celsius. The mercury crossed the 40-degree Celsius mark also in Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Madurai, Palayamkottai, Pondicherry, Salem, Thanjavur, Tiruchi and Tirupattur.

With an unprecedented drought gripping the State and a reduced water supply, the rush for drinking water — or just any water — continued unabated. Women were seen lining up at handpumps and in front of water lorries for their `quota' of the `elixir'.

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