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Super Hot! India Records Its Highest Temperature Ever

People cross a temporary bridge on a parched area of the Ganges River in Allahabad, India, on Thursday.
Pacific Press
LightRocket via Getty Images
People cross a temporary bridge on a parched area of the Ganges River in Allahabad, India, on Thursday.

A city in India has recorded the highest temperature in the country's history — 51 degrees Celsius, or 123.8 degrees Fahrenheit.

Murari Lal Thanvi told the BBC it was so hot in the city of Phalodi on Friday that his cellphone stopped working. "I was able to switch my mobile phone on after putting a wet cloth on it for about 20-25 minutes."

The city in western Rajasthan state broke the record Thursday; India's previous hottest day on record was 50.6 degrees Celsius in Alwar in 1956, according to The Times of India.

The scorching heat in Phalodi comes amid a heat wave across much of the country, as residents eagerly await the arrival of the monsoon season.

As The Associated Press reports:

"The monsoon normally hits southern India in the first week of June and covers the rest of the nation within a month. It is especially eagerly awaited this year because several parts of the country are reeling under a drought brought on by two years of weak rains.

"Clare Nullis, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization, told reporters in Geneva on Friday during a briefing on record global temperatures that meteorologists expect this year's Indian monsoon will bring more rain than normal, which would be good news for the drought-stricken regions."

Beyond India, Planet Earth saw its warmest-ever global temperatures in April, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last month's soaring temperatures clobbered the previous monthly record by the largest margin on record. On top of that, April was the 12th consecutive warmest month on record, which NOAA says is the longest streak in the 137 years it has been keeping records.

"The interesting thing is the scale at which we're breaking records," Andy Pitman, a climate researcher at Australia's University of New South Wales, tells The Guardian. "Climate scientists have been warning about this since at least the 1980s."

Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, tweeted that there is a greater than 99 percent chance that 2016 will be the hottest year on record.

How do you say "climate change" in Hindi? Answer (per Google): "jalavaayu parivartan."

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NPR correspondent Chris Arnold is based in Boston. His reports are heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazines Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. He joined NPR in 1996 and was based in San Francisco before moving to Boston in 2001.
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