An intense heat wave has gripped Maharashtra for almost a week now. Temperatures have soared to above 42 degrees Celsius in many places. Ten people have already lost their lives due to sun stroke. But the weather forecast says that there will hardly be any respite from the situation for the next few days.
Experts have said that local factors have added to the severity of the heat wave, and that the state is “paying the cost of development”.
The forecast of a delay in monsoon arrival has only worsened the situation. Though a depression in the Bay of Bengal has led to some respite in temperatures for the southern states, Maharashtra continues to sizzle.
This week, Akola recorded an average temperature of above 45 degrees Celsius. Even other places like Wardha, Nagpur, Jalgaon, Parbhani, Amravati, Yavatmal, Chandrapur, Brahmapuri, Nanded, Washim, Buldhana, Solapur, Sangli, Aurangabad, Pune, Malegaon, Gondia, Satara, Kolhapur, Nashik experienced temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius. Though Mumbai’s temperature was between 33 and 35 degrees Celsius, the relative humidity of the coastal city was very high. “Due to the high relative humidity, people felt the temperature might have risen to 44-45 degrees Celsius,” a weather expert said.
Local media reports said one Ravindra Mahale was killed in Khadkisim in Chalisgaon on Tuesday because of sun stroke. In Paithan, Chhababai Korde lost her life due to the rising mercury level the same day. The next day, four persons from Vidarbha—Ganesh Gulabrao Khandagale, Shyamrao Gogulwar, Mahendra Lohokare, and an unidentified 65-year old person—were killed by sun stroke. The same day, Barikrao Rangrao Bagal, Praveen Devram Chitte, Gokul Shenfadu Patil and Bhagwat Lalu Jagtap from Khandesh were killed in the intense heat wave.
Dr Ranjan Kelkar, former director general of IMD, said: “Basic precautions have to be taken. One has to avoid venturing out between 12 noon and 3 pm. You have to sip water continuously even if you aren’t thirsty. Always wear a cap and a pair of sunglasses before going out. Drink some sherbet or lassi before leaving the house. If you feel weak, heavy, get headache and constant sweating, you may be suffering from a sun stroke. You should consult a doctor immediately.”