New Delhi: Searing heat continued across the country with the mercury crossing the 40 degrees Celsius mark in many areas even as a government official on election duty died of sunstroke outside a polling booth in West Bengal on Thursday.
Temperature, however, dropped marginally in Delhi and some other parts of northern region in the wake of a fresh western disturbance with the weatherman predicting overcast conditions for today and possibility of duststorm and thunderstorm.
The maximum temperature in Delhi was recorded at 38.6 degrees Celsius, down from Wednesday’s 39.6 and a notch above the normal, while the minimum settled at 25.8 degrees Celsius.
“The drop in temperature is because of a Western disturbance prevailing for the last three days due to which there is a cloud cover over the plains and hilly regions have received showers,” India Meteorological Department Director B P Yadav said.
In the eastern states of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha, heat wave swept in most areas affecting normal life.
Heat wave claimed the life of a block-level officer maintaining the queue outside a polling station in Mangalkot in Burdwan district, where the third phase of assembly election was held on Thursday.
Rabindranath Ghosh, 40, died after suffering a sunstroke as he was standing in the open for long hours, EC officials said. Burdwan district is reeling under heat wave and Asansol town recorded a temperature of 44 degrees Celsius during the day, an IMD official said.
Mercury was soaring in Odisha with Titlagarh sizzling at 47 degrees Celsius, followed by Sonepur 46.2, Hirakud and Talcher 45.6, Jharsuguda 45.3 and Angul 45.1 degrees Celsius.
The maximum in Sundergarh, Bhawanipatna and Bolangir settled at 45 degrees Celsius.
The state capital of Bhubaneswar experienced a hot day at 40.3 degrees Celsius.
Reports of 66 deaths due to sunstroke have been received from different sources, according to a release issued by the Special Relief Commissioner’s (SRC) office. On inquiry, death in one case was confirmed to be due to sunstroke, it said.
“In 17 cases, the deaths have been found to have occurred due to other reasons. The remaining 48 cases are under inquiry,” SRC P K Mohapatra said.
Heat wave conditions also prevailed in Jharkhand where Jamshedpur sweltered under 45.6 degrees Celsius. Ranchi, the erstwhile summer capital of Bihar, recorded 41.2 degrees Celsius.
Uttar Pradesh too continued to reel under scorching heat with the mercury touching 45.3 degrees Celsius in Allahabad. According to MeT officials, heat wave prevailed at isolated places in the state.
Maximum temperatures continued to hover above normal in most places in Haryana and Punjab.
Hisar recorded a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Residents of Ambala braved a hot day at 38.2 degrees Celsius. Chandigarh recorded a high of 37.7, while Amritsar’s maximum settled at 38.6 degrees Celsius.
In western Maharashtra, Vidarbha reeled under severe heat conditions. Chandrapur was the hottest place at 45.6 degrees Celsius, followed by Bramhapuri 45.2 and Nagpur and Wardha 45 degree Celsius. The western region of Maharashtra is facing drought situation.
IMD has predicted that the summer of 2016 could possibly be the hottest summer.
“2015 was the hottest year ever recorded. Our forecast for the summer already talks of above normal temperatures. If you also look at the summer temperature until now, it looks that 2016 summer will be hottest,” said India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Laxman Singh Rathore.