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Heatwave conditions continued with slightly reduced intensity over parts of northwest and central India on Monday, with marginal relief predicted after two days. Temperatures in 17 locations breached 45 degrees Celsius, significantly impacting health and livelihoods.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted that heatwave conditions are very likely to continue in some parts of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Odisha on June 4-5; Uttar Pradesh, west Rajasthan, and Jharkhand until June 7; and Bihar on June 6-7.

Record Temperatures and Widespread Impact

Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest temperature in the country at 46.8 degrees Celsius. Other significant temperatures included 46.5 degrees in Ganganagar, Rajasthan, 46.4 degrees in Sirsa, Haryana, 45.1 degrees in Delhi’s Ayanagar, 45.9 degrees in Punjab’s Amritsar, and 45.4 degrees in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj.

The IMD indicated that heatwave conditions over northwest, central, and east India are likely to continue with reduced intensity over the next four to five days. This deadly heatwave is testing India’s disaster preparedness, with several states reporting heat-related deaths. From March to May, India recorded nearly 25,000 suspected heat stroke cases and 56 deaths due to heat-related illnesses, according to data from the health ministry. The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) reported that 46 of these deaths occurred in May alone (till May 30), with 19,189 suspected heat stroke cases reported between May 1 and 30.

The data does not include deaths from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Delhi, with final numbers expected to be higher. On Friday alone, India reported at least 40 suspected heat-related deaths, 25 of them staff deployed on Lok Sabha poll duty in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Strained Resources and Economic Impact

The extreme heat is straining power grids and leading to water shortages across the country. The Central Water Commission reported that water storage in 150 major reservoirs in India dropped to just 23 percent of their live storage last week, exacerbating water shortages in many states and significantly affecting hydropower generation. The intense heat has driven India’s power demand to 239.96 gigawatts, the highest so far this season, with air conditioners and coolers in homes and offices running at full capacity.

Severe heatwaves have impacted a large number of people in parts of India for three consecutive years, affecting health, water availability, agriculture, power generation, and other sectors of the economy. In May, several places across India, including Assam, Himachal Pradesh, and Arunachal Pradesh, recorded their all-time high temperatures. Record-breaking maximum temperatures were also observed in parts of India in April.

(With PTI Inputs)

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