After a respite for nearly two weeks, the maximum temperature in north India started to rise again with parts of Rajasthan experiencing a heat wave-like condition, including Bikaner where the mercury soared to 46.2 degrees Celsius, as forecast agencies said the advance of monsoon will be slower this week.
The Southwest Monsoon, which arrived in Kerala on its usual date on June 1, moved rapidly ahead because of a deep depression in the Arabian Sea which later turned into Cyclone Nisarga and hit the Maharashtra coast on June 3.
It has now covered whole of Maharashtra and parts of Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.
Meteorologist H P Chandra, from the Raipur Met centre, told PTI the monsoon generally reaches north Chhattisgarh by the third week of June, but it arrived a week early this time. The state capital Raipur and many other areas have received good showers in the last two days.
Last week, parts of north India too received light-to-moderate pre-monsoon rain and the maximum temperature remained below 40 degrees for about a fortnight.
But the India Meteorological Department has said the monsoon is likely to slow down for a week as the low-pressure area that aided its advance has weakened.
In Rajasthan, heat wave-like conditions affected normal life.
Bikaner, the hottest place in the state, recorded a maximum temperature of 46.2 degrees Celsius, followed by Barmer, Ganganagar and Jaisalmer at 45.3, 45.0 and 46.2 degrees respectively.
The weather department has predicted light rain in some places in the state but the heat wave is likely to prevail for at least the next 24 hours.
An IMD forecast for Delhi and its adjoining areas has said that no heat wave was likely in the region till June 15. On Monday, Delhi experienced a maximum temperature of 41.4 degrees Celsius, two notches above normal, and it is likely to remain above 40 degrees Celsius for the next three days before light rains bring some relief.
Some parts in Delhi even experienced a maximum temperature of more than 43 degrees Celsius.
In Punjab and Haryana, too, the day temperatures were above normal.
Hisar in Haryana was the hottest place in the two states at 42.9 degrees Celsius, recording a two-degree increase above the normal.Ambala, Karnal and Narnaul also recorded above normal temperatures of 41.4 degrees Celsius, 39.5 degrees Celsius and 42.2 degrees Celsius, respectively.
The IMD said rain or thundershower is very likely at a few places in eastern Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places in western Uttar Pradesh on June 17 and June 18.
Meanwhile, an early onset of pre-monsoon rains is driving wild elephants in Uttarakhand to higher altitudes earlier than usual, according to forest officials, reinforcing the research that these animals respond quickly to changes in forage and water availability.
Also, the pre-monsoon showers have led to an increase in mosquitoes and bee attacks, which are very annoying for elephants, so they move up to avoid them, the officials say. Experts say bees exhibit aggressive behaviour during monsoon season when humidity levels are high.