Shimla: The hills of Himachal Pradesh have been unusually warm this summer with prominent tourist spots recording maximum temperatures two to seven degrees above the average, the meteorological office said on Wednesday.
However, the met office has offered relief in the offing with rain predicted across the state on Thursday.
Director of the met office Manmohan Singh said "Temperatures across the state remained on the higher side due to lack of rains in the past few days. The maximum temperature remained above normal."
He said Shimla's maximum temperature was six degrees above the average for this time of the year. It recorded a high of 30.1 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, while the minimum was 21.0 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.
Lack of rainfall has led to water scarcity in Shimla, forcing civic authorities to curtail everyday water supply to the residents from Wednesday.
"Shimla is facing an acute shortage of water. Most of the water channels in the town have dried up. We have no other option but to ration water," said Shimla's Assistant Municipal Commissioner K K Sharma.
He said water would be supplied every alternate day. "This would remain effective till the onset of monsoon."
The temperature also soared in the higher reaches.
While the picturesque Kalpa, some 250 km from here, recorded a maximum temperature of 23.7 degrees Celsius, Keylong, the district headquarter of Lahaul and Spiti, registered 19.9 degrees on Tuesday. These towns on Wednesday recorded minimum temperatures of 7.9 and 10 degrees Celsius, respectively.
"This is nothing unusual. Due to prolonged dry spell, the temperatures generally hover above the normal," the met office director said.
He said western disturbances are approaching the Himalayan region Thursday.
"The western disturbances will remain active on Thursday and on Friday with chances of light to moderate rain or thundershower across the state," he added.
Popular tourist resorts like Narkanda, Kufri, Kasauli, Manali, Palampur, Chamba and Dalhousie were also experiencing much hotter weather.
Shimla, popularly known as Queen of Hills, has always been a favourite retreat for tourists during summer. But sweltering heat even here has troubled the tourists and the locals.
"We came here to get some relief from heat wave, but daytime is too hot," said Priyanka Chopra, a tourist from Chandigarh.
According to representatives of the hospitality industry, as many as 50,000 tourists are expected this weekend as the heat wave has intensified in the plains.