An unexpectedly hot April has led to an estimated 40 deaths across the country, with temperatures several degrees above average for this time of the year.
Temperatures have crossed 45 degree Celsius in parts of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, with weather experts describing the conditions as “unusual”.
In Orissa, the heat wave has reportedly claimed at least 28 lives in the last two weeks, while in West Bengal, five heat-related deaths have been reported swo far. The heat wave has claimed four lives — among them, three children — in north Chhattisgarh’s Korba district.
The high temperatures have raised fears of crop damage, water shortage and power crisis in various states. In Delhi, the mercury touched 39.8 degree Celsius on Tuesday, four degrees above normal.
While Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir have recorded temperatures 7 to 9 per cent above average, more than 20 people have suffered from heat stroke in Kerala.
Temperatures in Rajasthan are 4 to 5 degrees above normal, with temperatures in capital Jaipur hovering around 40 degree Celsius. The mercury crossed 37 degrees in Bangalore on Sunday but light showers provided relief on Tuesday.
Chhattisgarh was not so lucky, with the temperatures soaring to 45 degree Celsius in Bilaspur district and touching 44.3 degree Celsius in the capital Raipur on Tuesday.
In Uttar Pradesh, temperatures are 5 to 9 degrees above normal. In Bihar, too, the temperatures are six to seven degrees above normal. “The high temperature at this time of the year would impact crops, specially vegetables and fruits, as their flowering pattern would be affected,” said Ashok K. Ghosh, professor, department of environment and water management in Patna’s AN College.
The heat wave is set to continue in north India.
“There is no chance of a reprieve anytime soon because the rain-bearing clouds are refusing to come this way,” said an official at the meteorological department in Delhi. “The whole of north India is suffering from this heat wave.”