New Delhi: The blistering heat wave continued on Friday in parts of India, claiming 205 more lives in the worst-hit twin states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana where the toll has risen to 1,979, even as respite appeared on the horizon with the southwest monsoon forecast to hit Kerala on Saturday.
Isolated rains provided some relief in the two Telugu states but they continued to remain in the grip of intense heat wave. Weather officials in Thiruvananthapuram, however, said that strong winds from north westerly direction having a speed of 45-55 kmph were likely to hit the Kerala coast and Lakshadweep during the next 24 hours commencing from 2 p.m. on Friday and all the state's 14 districts to get rain.
According to officials, 156 more people succumbed to sunstroke in Andhra while 49 died in Telangana since Thursday, taking the toll in Andhra to 1,490 and in Telangana to 489. Almost all deaths were reported during last eight to 10 days.
"As per information available till 5 PM today, the toll had risen to 489 (from yesterday's 440)," said a senior official of the state disaster management department here.
Since April 15, Nalgonda district has witnessed 126 deaths, followed by Karimnagar (95), Khammam (92), Mahabubnagar (37), besides 35 each in Medak and Ranga Reddy districts.
The heatwave has also claimed 22 lives in Adilabad, 20 in Warangal, 17 in Nizamabad and 10 in Hyderabad.
Rain in parts of Hyderabad and cloudy weather provided some relief to people in the capital city reeling under an intense heat for over a week.
Isolated rain in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions also brought down the temperature at a few places but heat wave conditions continued relentless in the state.
The meteorological centre at Hyderabad has warned that the heat wave conditions may continue till Saturday evening. It also forecast rains in few parts of both the states, raising the hopes of relief from the blistering heat wave, the worst in decades.
Jangamaheshwarapuram in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh was the hottest place at 47 degrees Celsius. In Telangana, Khammam and Nalgonda sizzled at 46 degrees and Ramagundam recorded 45 degrees.
The intense heatwave continued unabated in Odisha on Friday with Bhabanipatna town recording a maximum temperature of 45.5 degrees Celsius, the meteorological centre in Bhubaneswar said.
The state government put the number of deaths in the heatwave this season at 17.
Bhabanipatna town in Kalahandi district recorded the maximum temperature of 45.5 degrees Celsius, the department said.
Bhubaneswar, the capital city, recorded 39.7 degrees Celsius, it added.
The scorching heat in Chhattisgarh claimed two lives. They died of intense heat while travelling by bus.
Uttar Pradesh continued to reel under the heatwave with no respite in sight, the Met Office said on Friday.
Officials said that the hot winds blowing in most parts of the state will get more intense.
The day temperatures which had ebbed a little in the past three days climbed once again on Thursday in Lucknow with the maximum temperature at 42.7 degrees Celsius, two degrees above average.
The highest temperature recorded in the state on Thursday was at Allahabad where the mercury touched 45.7 degrees Celsius followed by Jhansi (45.3 degrees).
Haryana's Hisar was the hottest in the region at 44 degrees Celsius as heat wave conditions intensified over most parts of Punjab and Haryana on Friday.
The temperature in most places ranged between 42 and 44 degrees, a rise by one or two notches from Thursday, a Met official said here.
In Punjab, Patiala, the Sikh holy city of Amritsar and industrial hub Ludhiana were the hottest at 42 degrees each. All were five degrees above average.
Chandigarh, at a high of 42 degrees, was three degrees above average.
The maximum temperature in the hills in Himachal Pradesh declined marginally on Friday, giving some relief from the scorching heat, an weatherman said.
The met department said there could be light rain or thundershowers in some parts of the state till June 1.
"Most of the towns saw a fall of the maximum temperature by one to one degrees. In the next few days it will decline further," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, told IANS.
Slight relief was experienced in the heat wave conditions in certain parts of Maharashtra's Vidarbha and Marathwada regions though high temperatures continued to scorch most areas on Friday.
For the first time in a week, the highest temperatures in the state stood at 46 degrees Celsius (down from the high of 47 degrees this entire week), recorded Friday in Nagpur, Wardha and Chandrapur, though there are no officially recorded casualties so far.
Akola recorded 45 degrees while Parbhani recorded 44 degrees - a degree lesser than Thursday - while Yavatmal also stood at 44 degrees.
It was a hot and humid Friday in Kolkata and across West Bengal, forcing residents to opt for cool summer drinks and indoor activities.
In Kolkata, the maximum temperature hovered around 36 degrees Celsius. The humidity levels soared to 85 percent in the morning and dipped to 58 percent later in the day, the Met Office said.
Heat wave conditions continue to affect normal life in the desert state of Rajasthan, with the mercury hovering between 40-45 degrees Celsius in most parts of the state at Kota the hottest at 44.6 degrees Celsius.
(With inputs from agencies)