It was another day of unrelenting heat in the national capital on Saturday as the mercury touched 42 degrees Celsius and was expected to climb further as the weatherman predicted no change in the weather conditions till the middle of next week.
Delhi's dreaded summer is full blast despite one third of June almost over and there are no rain clouds visible in the horizon to bring cheer to its sweltering residents.
The capital recorded a maximum of 42 degrees Celsius, two degrees above normal, at midday while the minimum was 32.8 degrees - five degrees above normal. The maximum is expected to rise and could cross 44 degrees by evening, the weatherman said.
"We generally see a spell of heat wave conditions in June or early July, but this time the first part of June is getting hotter and hotter. The spell may continue till the middle of next week," India Meteorological Department (IMD) director SC Bhan said.
"Since June began, Delhi had not witnessed any rain or dust storm. It could be blamed on the ongoing hot and humid conditions," Bhan told IANS.
The heat was more unbearable as there was not much difference between the maximum and minimum temperatures, said Bhan.
The scorching June, coming in the aftermath of an unusually cool May, has left residents reeling. People prefer to largely remain indoors and many were seen covering their heads with wet towels and caps.
"The heat is unbearable. It's becoming almost impossible to move out of our home," said Sarita Paul, a student.
"My friends and myself have decided not to move outdoors without carrying a wet towel in our bag. It is my umbrella, cold coffee and several glasses of lemon juice that is keeping me alive," she said.
Santosh Patra, a scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said: "I was a victim of sun stroke this week. Doctors advised me to take three days bed rest and now I am thinking of carrying an ice bag while stepping outside."
Badrish Jha, an auto-rickshaw driver, said: "I am not carrying passengers between 11 am and 5 pm as it is too hot. There is no point earning money by putting my health in danger."
"I am from Bihar and have never experienced such hot weather conditions. In Bihar, it starts raining by early June," Jha told IANS.
Juice stores had long queues outside them. "I have been drinking mango shakes and orange and sugarcane juice everyday," said Subhas Khare, a resident of Munirka in southwest Delhi.
IMD officials said that May had received nearly five times its usual quota of rain, but June is yet to record even one millimetre of rainfall.
"Delhi received over 80 mm rain in May as against its usual quota of 17.5 mm, but June has been dry so far. Hot winds from Rajasthan are also making the situating worse," Bhan said. Delhi generally receives 55 mm rainfall in June.