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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

City records hottest March day in 55 years

Mumbai:The city experienced its second-hottest March day ever on Wednesday, when the mercury soared to 41.6 degrees Celsius in Colaba. Experts called the hot, dry weather a "new phenomenon" in the city.
    It was the hottest day of March in 55 years, with the previous high—also the all
time high—coming on March 28, 1956 when the temperature was 41.7 degrees Celsius.
    A maximum of 41.3 was recorded in Santa Cruz, testifying to the scorching heat. Weather data shows this is the first time in a decade that the maximum has soared to over 40.

• Mar 16, 2011 41.6° C
• Mar 28, 1956 41.7° C
• Avg March temp 32.7° C
    (Source: IMD Mumbai)
Mumbai hit by dry heat due to low humidity
Mumbai: With April and May yet to come, all eyes are on the thermometer to see if the mercury climbs past 42.2 degrees Celsius, which was the temperature on Mumbai's hottest day on April 14, 1952. With the early onset of summer this year, the city recorded its second-hottest March day on Wednesday when the temperature reached 41.6.
    "The maximum temperature rose to 41 in many parts of Maharashtra on Wednesday," said R V Sharma, deputy director-general of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Mumbai. "Already, Mumbai was being affected by hot southeasterly winds. On Wednesday, tremendous heat waves hit the city from the north and northeast, thus increasing the temperature to such levels," Sharma said.
    It's a dryer than normal heat, experts said, with the city experiencing very low relative humidity. While the humidity recorded in Colaba was 36%, in Santa Cruz it was 25%. Usually, humidity is above 50%, making conditions much muggier than they are now.
    "Usually in March, the humidity levels are 50% to 80%. We have had humidity levels higher than 80% in the past, but having such low levels is a novelty," said Sharma.
    Another Met official said, "It was quite a new phenomenon in the city. The extremely harsh heat waves coupled with
very low humidity created a loo-like effect in Mumbai. Such an effect is a prominent feature only of north India. Mumbai, being a coastal area, doesn't generally experience such weather conditions."
    Kapil Gupta, of the civil engineering department, IIT, Mumbai, said, "Apart from meteorological factors, the city has been going through an 'urban heat island effect', in which the urban areas get hotter than the surrounding areas due to human activity. The use of ACs can cause an in
crease in air temperature by at least 2.5 degrees. It is no surprise, then, that the city's temperature has climbed so high."
    With the rise in maximum temperatures, the difference between the day and night temperatures in the city also increased. The minimum temperatures recorded on Wednesday were 23.5 and 19.2 in Colaba and Santa Cruz, respectively. The difference between the high and low temperatures was thus more than 18 degrees in Colaba and 20 degrees in Santa Cruz.

Sri Lankan cricketer Lasith Malinga cools off in Mumbai on Wednesday



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