Unusually hot conditions with temperatures hovering above 40 degrees Celsius in large parts of Maharashtra in the past 72 hours have claimed at least three lives so far, officials said.
“It’s not a heat wave, though the weather is hot due to a combination of several factors. There will be heat wave conditions in parts of north-central Maharashtra and a few places in Vidarbha over the next 48 hours (till Saturday),” said Indian Meteorological Department – Mumbai Director V.K. Rajeev.
Rain or thundershowers are likely in parts of northern coastal Konkan, Marathwada and Vidarbha during this period, which may bring some relief from the high temperatures.
However, he said the conditions have slightly improved since Wednesday night with temperatures in different parts of the state recorded around 40 degrees Celsius, which is the normal average for this time of the year.
Meanwhile, a 14-year-old from Aurangabad district and a 50-year-old woman in Beed succumbed to extreme heat conditions in the past 24 hours, officials confirmed.
A former Sarpanch of Bhabulde village in Dhule, Babulbai S. Nikumbe, 49, was rushed to a local hospital on Wednesday after she suffered a sun stroke and succumbed while under treatment on Thursday.
The mercury has shot up and is hovering between 40-44 degrees Celsius in at least 22 districts in the state, including Satara, Akola, Nashik, Jalna, Osmanabad, Jalgaon, Nagpur, Amravati, Pune, Buldhana, Aurangabad, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Washim, Latur, Hingoli, Nanded, Beed, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Parbhani and Gondia in the past three days.
Mumbai recorded 34 degrees on Thursday with humidity levels ranging between 79-89 per cent, bring increasing discomfort to the people, and the temperature is likely to remain the same on Friday.
Health Minister Deepak Sawant said that all hospitals have been put on alert to tackle any emergencies related to the extreme hot weather conditions.
Bhira village in Raigad district, adjoining Mumbai, notched a staggering 47 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, but IMD officials suspect a glitch in the temperature recording instruments.
A team of experts has been sent to verify the authenticity of the mercury readings, the report of which will be available shortly, Rajeev said.
Meanwhile, official agencies and NGOs have advised people of the state to refrain from venturing outdoors between 12 p.m.-5 p.m. and ensure sufficient intake of liquids, especially for children, proper protective clothing and other precautionary measures to avoid heat strokes which can be fatal.