80-year-old woman is first heat wave fatality in Maharashtra

Mumbai: In a first for this year, an 80-year-old woman from Sambhaji Nagar in Aurangabad Indian Meteorological Department district, has become the first victim to die of heat stroke.

After 15 cases of heat stroke were reported in March, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a heatwave warning for various parts of Maharashtra. IMD has said that the soaring temperatures will continue for the next five days in the state.

Cases of heat stroke have been reported from Nagpur, Aurangabad and Latur districts. According to an official of the state health department, 13 cases of heat stroke were reported from Nagpur and they were treated for hyperthermia. One case of heat stroke was reported from both Latur as well as Aurungabad. Dr Pradeep Awate, state health officer said the cause for these cases is the sudden heatwave.

“The northern part of Maharashtra has recorded temperatures beyond 40 degrees Celsius in the last few days, which has been the cause for heat strokes. The continuing heatwave in these parts of the state has been caused due to the strong westerly winds,” said Dr Awate. “We have issued guidelines for heatstroke management to all district health officials.

The high risk pockets are mainly in Vidarbha region, Akola and in the Nagpur belt,” Dr Awate added. Meanwhile, the minimum temperature recorded in Mumbai city was 23.5 degrees Celsius which was two degrees above normal on Monday morning.

The IMD predicted that the minimum temperatures will continue to increase till next week and have also issued a heatwave warning for Vidarbha and parts of North Maharashtra and Marathwada. “Heatwave conditions are likely to prevail in a few isolated pockets of Nashik, Ahmednagar, Beed and Parbhani districts from March 31 to April 3, which will continue till April 8,” said an official.

According to IMD, a heatwave is declared when the temperature touches 40 degrees Celsius in the plains and remains so for two to three days or is above 4.5 to 6.5 degrees Celsius above normal temperatures. On Sunday evening, the interiors of Maharashtra recorded temperatures above 43 degrees Celsius.

Vidarbha continued to record high temperatures with Nagpur at 43.2, Amravati at 42.6, Wardha at 43, Akola at 42.1, Chandrapur at 42.8 and Gadchiroli at 42 degrees. “The reason for these high temperatures can be attributed to clear skies and lack of weather activity in the Southwest region of Rajasthan, Gujarat as well as western Madhya Pradesh,” said an IMD official.

The maximum temperature recorded by the IMD Santacruz observatory was 32 degrees Celsius, while at Colaba, the maximum temperature recorded was 32.2 degrees Celsius, which is 0.9 degrees above normal. Relative humidity has also increased to 62 per cent during day.

According to KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, IMD, similar conditions will continue to prevail over the next 48 hours. “This condition will prevail for the next two days as per the weather models. People should avoid direct exposure to the sun,” he cautioned.

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