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Phalodi has broken India’s temperature records after registering 51C, the highest since records began, the weather office says.

The new record registered in the desert state of Rajasthan comes amid a heat wave across India.

The previous record for the hottest temperature stood at 50.6C in 1956.

This year’s heat wave has hit much of northern India, where temperatures have exceeded 40C for weeks.India heat wave 2015

The run-up to the Indian monsoon season is always characterized by weeks of strong sunshine and increasing heat but life-threatening temperature levels topping 50C are unusual.

India’s weather office has issued warnings of “severe heat wave” conditions across large parts of India’s northern and western states through the weekend.

The country declares a heat wave when the maximum temperature hits 45C or five degrees higher than the average for the area in previous years.

This summer, the heat wave has claimed dozens of lives in the south Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Permanent relief from the heat is only expected with the arrival of the monsoon, which normally comes in mid-June.