A blazing sun baked large parts of India on Friday with a searing heat wave claiming dozens of lives this summer in a budding El Nino year , while the weather office predicted worse days ahead.
The oppressive conditions have killed at least 21 people in the southern state of Telangana as the meteorological department said the mercury would likely shoot up further and advised people to stay indoors during peak hours.
Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh too is reeling, with several towns in the Krishna, Guntur, Nellore, West Godavari, Prakasam and East Godavari districts bearing the brunt as temperatures in some parts touched 47° Celsius, officials said.
Experts say an El Nino, a weather anomaly that leads to warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, often sparks scorching weather across Asia and drags down India's June-September monsoon.
In the east, roads were deserted and shops shut during the hottest part of the day in Odisha as many residents remained indoors but were nettled by water scarcity and intermittent power cuts.
Authorities said on Friday they received reports of 12 deaths due to sunstroke, with 45.4° Celsius the highest temperature recorded the previous day in Jharsuguda district.
"On inquiry, the death in two of these cases was found to have occurred because of other reasons. The other cases are under examination," said special relief commissioner PK Mohapatra.
He said the government asked collectors of all 30 districts to ensure special treatment for heatstroke patients in hospitals, restriction of work for labourers from 11 am to 3 pm and supply of drinking water through tankers to all inhabitants facing water scarcity.
The national capital woke up to a sweltering and sunny morning with the maximum temperature projected to settle at 43° Celsius, the weather office said, making it a slightly warmer day than Thursday's 42.6° Celsius.
The scorching sun was expected to bring down humidity, enhancing the intensity of heat under a mainly cloudless sky.
Met officials said the heat wave was sweeping most places in west Rajasthan, west Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha and Telangana, as well as parts of Odisha, coastal Andhra Pradesh and isolated places in Uttar Pradesh, east Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Marathwada and north interior Karnataka.
(With agency inputs)