Maharashtra roasts at 40-plus C, heatwave forecast

Unusually hot conditions with temperatures hovering above 40 degrees Celsius in large parts of Maharashtra in the past 72 hours have claimed at least two lives so far, officials said.

"It's not a heatwave, though the weather is hot due to a combination of several factors. There will be heatwave conditions in parts of north-central Maharashtra and a few places in Vidarbha over the next 48 hours (till Saturday)," said Indian Meteorological Department - Mumbai Director V.K. Rajeev.

Rains or thundershowers are likely in parts of northern coastal Konkan, Marathwada and Vidarbha during this period, which may bring some relief from the high temperatures.

However, he said the conditions have slightly improved since Wednesday night with temperatures in different parts of the state recorded around 40 degrees Celsius, which is the normal average for this time of the year.

Meanwhile, a 14-year-old from Aurangabad district and a 50-year-old woman in Beed succumbed to extreme heat conditions in the past 24 hours, officials confirmed.

The mercury has shot up and is hovering between 40-44 degrees Celsius in at least 22 districts in the state, including Satara, Akola, Nashik, Jalna, Osmanabad, Jalgaon, Nagpur, Amravati, Pune, Buldhana, Aurangabad, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Washim, Latur, Hingoli, Nanded, Beed, Ahmednagar, Solapur, Parbhani and Gondia in the past three days.

Bhira village in Raigad district, adjoining Mumbai notched a staggering 47 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, but IMD officials suspect a glitch in the temperature recording instruments.

A team of experts has been sent to verify the authenticity of the mercury readings, the report of which will be available shortly, Rajeev said.

Meanwhile, official agencies and NGOs have advised people of the state to refrain from venturing outdoors between 1200-1700 hours, ensure sufficient intake of liquids, especially for children, proper protective clothing from the harsh sunrays and other precautionary measures to avoid heatstrokes, which can be fatal.