A heat wave sweeping through vast swathes of the country will remain intense till next week, the weatherman said on Friday, warning of temperatures rising to a blistering 50 degree Celsius in many parts of north India.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD’s) warning came a day after Phalodi in Rajasthan experienced 51 degree Celsius, the highest ever in India since weather monitoring began.
“Heat wave to severe heat wave conditions are very likely at a few places over Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat; and at isolated places over south Uttar Pradesh, Vidarbha and central Maharashtra,” the IMD said in its forecast.
It issued a “red alert” – the highest level -- and “severe heat wave” warning for east and west Rajasthan, east and west Madhya Pradesh, Saurashtra and Kutch and the Gujarat region.
The IMD said the intensity of the heat wave is likely to gradually “abate during May 27 to 31”.
Large parts of north, west and central India are already reeling under unusually high temperatures – 45 to 48 degree Celsius – for the past few weeks, aggravating problems for farmers hit by back-to-back droughts.
It has also led to acute water shortage in many areas of central and western India which has seen water riots, government-monitored rationing and armed guards at reservoirs.
The Met department earlier said the southwest monsoons – the annual June-September rains crucial to millions of farmers in the country – will be delayed by around a week. The IMD, however, has predicted above normal monsoon rains this year.
Since April, around 400 people have died due to the heat wave across the country.
In Madhya Pradesh, two people died of heat stroke on Thursday including a 20-year-old student.
The day temperatures are hovering between 44 and 47 degrees, with Gwalior recording the highest 47 degree Celsius in the last 24 hours. No respite from heat wave is expected in the state soon, said state Met director Anupam Kashyap.
In Phalodi, baking under temperatures nudging 50 degree Celsius, the roads were deserted for most parts of Friday as people decided to remain indoors.
In most places in Rajasthan, the temperature dipped by 0.5 degrees to three degrees, but severe heat wave conditions were prevailing in many parts of the state.
Jaipur recorded 46 degree, 0.5 degrees less than Thursday and usually hot Churu recorded 48.1 degree, down from 50.2 degrees on Thursday. Similarly temperature drop was recorded in Ajmer, Pilani, Kota, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Barmer.
In Ahmedabad, which recorded its hottest day ever at 48 degrees Celsius on Thursday, the heat wave continued to sweep the city and several other parts of Gujarat on Friday. More than 10 heat-related deaths have been reported from across the state, including four in Ahmedabad, so far this summer.
The worst appeared to be over for Bihar as a cyclonic storm over the Bay of Bengal pushed inland, raising possibilities of rains in the state.
“A cyclonic storm that is moving eastwards from Tamil Nadu has led to significant drop in maximum daily temperatures in Patna. In north-eastern Bihar, the temperature was even lesser,” said Patna IMD Patna director AK Sen.
He said eastern Bihar would get good rainfall from Friday while other parts could experience drizzles.
(With agency inputs)
What happensThe almond-sized thermostat that sits in the corner of your brain – hypothalamus – wakes up. It alerts the tiny sweat glands distributed all over the body, around 4 million under the skin, that there is a suspect case of fire. It turns on the sprinkler. Result: disgusting blotches of sweat on your dress.
"Sweat is the first natural response of the body towards heat," said JK Mitra, physician and associate professor at Ranchi’s Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS).
Hypothalamus panics. The fire is big, need more fire trucks as the blood has begun to boil. The heart slots itself into top gear and pumps out more blood to the surface of the skin. The blood transfers the heat within the body to the surface from where the sweat drops soak up the heat and evaporate.
Result: floodgates of sweat open. Old people with worn-out organs or infants who don’t have a fully developed body system should back off into the comfort of home. People with hypertension, low blood pressure could feel nauseous with bouts of giddiness.
Unless you step into the shade and top yourself up with water, the body isn’t left with enough coolant. Sweat glands are still trying to pump out whatever little they can manage. Result: dehydration and loss of minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium that helped your body and brain maintain equilibrium. Simply put, your mind beings to act up. One by one, body machines begin to shut down, starting with kidney. "Once kidney fails, urination decreases," said Dr Rashmi Sinha of RIMS. This leads to pile up of deadly toxins in the body, setting off a domino of organ failure.