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Heatwave conditions continue in northwest India, temperatures set to rise further, says IMD

Experts say outdoor workers, the elderly, and children are at higher risk of heat exhaustion and heatstroke as temperatures are set to rise further in the coming days.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Updated on: May 22, 2024 23:43 IST
Visitors at India Gate amid heatwave
Image Source : PTI (FILE) Visitors at India Gate amid heatwave

The northwest region of the country continued to battle scorching heat as the blistering heatwave persisted unabated on Wednesday, with the mercury surging to 48 degrees Celsius in Rajasthan's Barmer, the highest temperature recorded in the country this year so far.

The soaring temperature also affected the water levels in the Delhi region. The stretch of the Yamuna River dropped amid the sweltering heat in the national capital. Not only water but power supply is also affected in the city. Delhi saw power demand reaching a record 8,000 megawatts, with air conditioners, coolers, and refrigerators in homes and offices running at full throttle.

At least 24 places in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh recorded maximum temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius or above on Wednesday, the IMD data showed.

Barmer in Rajasthan records a high temperature

Barmer in Rajasthan recorded a high of 48 degrees Celsius, the highest in the country this season so far. Churu logged a high of 47.4 degrees, Phalodi 47.8 degrees, and Jaisalmer 47.2 degrees.

Maximum temperatures settled at 45 degrees in Madhya Pradesh's Ratlam, 44.8 degrees in Maharashtra's Akola, 47.7 degrees in Haryana's Sirsa, 46.6 degrees in Punjab's Bhatinda, 46.1 degrees in Gujarat's Kandla, and 45 degrees in Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.

Conditions are set to deteriorate further with the India Meteorological Department predicting a rise of three to four degrees in northwest India over the next few days.

The Met department issued a red warning for Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and west Uttar Pradesh, emphasising a "very high likelihood" of heat illness and heatstroke in all ages.

It said warm night conditions could further exacerbate heat-related stress in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Rajasthan over the next four days.

High night temperatures are considered dangerous because the body doesn't get a chance to cool down. Increasing nighttime heat is more common in cities because of the urban heat island effect, in which metro areas are significantly hotter than their surroundings.

The punishing heat is straining power grids and drying up water bodies, triggering drought-like conditions in parts of the country.

According to the Central Water Commission, water storage in 150 major reservoirs in India plunged to their lowest level in five years last week, exacerbating water shortages in many states and significantly affecting hydropower generation.

Severe and frequent heat waves are further burdening low-income households in the country, which often have poor access to water and cooling, and testing the endurance of outdoor workers toiling in the searing sun, forcing them to take frequent breaks.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1,66,000 people died as a result of heatwaves between 1998 and 2017. India reported 3,812 deaths due to heatwaves between 2015 and 2022, with Andhra Pradesh alone logging 2,419 fatalities, the Union health ministry told Parliament in July last year.

(With PTI inputs)

Also read: Delhi Heatwave: 5 important dos and don'ts to follow during scorching summers

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