Temperatures in the desert city of Churu in Rajasthan hit 50°C for the second time in three days as the deadly heatwave maintains its grip on India. On Sunday, the temperature dropped to 48.9°C but soared to 50.3°C again on Monday. The highest it recorded this year was 50.6°C on Saturday, close to the country's record of 51°C registered in Phalodi in Rajasthan in May 2016.
Known as the gateway to the Thar desert, the administration of Churu has issued a heatwave advisory, and government hospitals have prepared emergency wards with extra air conditioners, coolers and medicines, said Additional District Magistrate Ramratan Sonkariya. Water is also being poured on the roads of Churu to bring down the temperature and keep the tar from melting.
A farmer died of sunstroke in Churu on Sunday, and there have been reports of other heat-related deaths, as well. 'Dozens of deaths' were reported from Maharashtra (primarily Vidarbha), Andhra Pradesh (mainly Rayalaseema) and Telangana, according to The Weather Channel.
India suffers the brunt of a lengthy heatwave every year before the monsoon arrives. There have been over 6,000 heat-related deaths in the country since 2010, according to The Times of India.
According to weather monitoring website El Dorado, eight of the 15 hottest places in the world in the past 24 hours were in India and four in neighbouring Pakistan.
No relief any time soon
Across North India, cities have been sweltering with temperatures above 47°C, with the India Meteorological Department predicting no relief any time soon. A "red alert" is already in place for Haryana, Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Delhi.
The severe heatwave — declared when the maximum temperature remains above 45°C for two consecutive days —is likely to continue in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh another day, the IMD said, adding that there will be no respite from the scorching heat in the northwest, central and adjoining peninsular India for at least two days.
However, there was some relief in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on Monday, with reports of rain in pockets. Rain accompanied by a hail storm and gusty winds brought down the mercury in Hyderabad. However, an 18-year-old boy was electrocuted after his umbrella came in contact with an electric pole in the city's SR Nagar area.
The weather body predicted light to moderate rains or thundershowers at isolated places in coastal Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for the next five days.
The annual monsoon, which normally brings much-needed rain to South Asia, is running a week behind schedule this year and is expected to hit Kerala only on 6 June.
Private forecaster Skymet warned of less rain than average this year. It also estimated that the three-month, pre-monsoon season, which ended on 31 May, was the second driest in the last 65 years. The pre-monsoon rains saw a national average of 99 mm against the normal average of 131.5 mm for the season, according to Skymet.
The heat and delayed monsoon have resulted in water shortages in several parts of India. In Maharashtra, farmers are struggling to find water for thirsty animals and crops.
There are also reports of well, lakes, reservoirs and rivers drying up as several parts of the country reel under the scorching heat. This includes the Vaigai river in Tamil Nadu's Madurai district.
The Indian peninsula has seen a drastic change in rainfall patterns over the past decade, marked by frequent droughts, floods and sudden storms.
With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jun 04, 2019 10:24:38 IST