Vast swathes of the country reeled under the heatwave which has claimed more than 150 lives in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana even as the scorching sun on Saturday continued to drive the mercury upwards with Delhi recording its hottest day of this season.
As many as 73 persons died in Telangana and 80 deaths were recorded in Andhra Pradesh due to severe heatwave conditions. But as Delhiites struggled to cope with the excruciating heat as the maximum today hit this summer's highest at 44.5 degrees Celsius, five notches above the normal, the weatherman hinted at the likelihood of some relief in the form of dust storms or thunderstorms tomorrow across northern India.
Although the Safdarjang weather station, which provides the official reading for Delhi, gave a sub-45 degree figure, the Palam weather station in the national capital recorded the mercury at 46.2 degrees. The maximum in Delhi on Friday was at 43.6 degrees.
The minimum today settled at 29.3 degrees, three notches above the season's average, while the infernal heat brought down the humidity in air, which oscillated between 17 and 40 per cent.
Weather officials, meanwhile, said that relief was on the cards as dust storms and thunderstorms are likely to occur tomorrow in some parts of Delhi. Down south in AP, among those who succumbed to the killer heat were 40 persons in Prakasam district and 12 in Visakhapatnam. In Telangana, 28 persons died due to the heatwave in Nalgonda district followed by 22 in Karimnagar district, officials said.
The toll for AP pertains to the period from May 18 until Friday evening while the figures for Telangana cover the duration from April 15 till last evening. Severe heatwave conditions prevailed over parts of Adilabad, Warangal, Hyderabad, Khammam, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Nizamabad and Karimnagar districts of Telangana.
The heatwave also intensified in Odisha as the mercury inched above the 40-degree mark at 19 places in the state while three more deaths due to the sweltering conditions were reported on Saturday, taking the toll to 26, said the office of the special relief commissioner.
Titlagarh recorded the highest maximum in the state at 46.2 degrees while Jharsuguda and Bhawanipatna recorded highs of 46 degrees. The Odisha state capital of Bhubaneswar sizzled at 42.7 degrees.
Around 100 people succumbed to the heat wave conditions prevailing in Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said. "We have around 100 deaths. More figures are coming. We are taking all precautions on how to minimise deaths," he told media persons.
He announced a compensation of Rs one lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.
Naidu, who is also the president of ruling Telugu Desam Party, directed officials across the state and also party leaders to start camps to provide drinking water and buttermilk to common people as a protection against sun-strokes.
He also asked the administration to conduct a campaign to raise public awareness on protecting themselves from the scorching heat. He advised people to avoid coming under the sun from 11 am to about 4 pm during the peak summer season.
Heat wave conditions, with temperatures hovering around 45 degrees Celsius at several places, have been prevailing in AP since the last few days.