India reels under blistering heat, Maharashtra town burns at 46.5°C, Shimla hottest in 7 years

Even Bhira's temperature may not be accurate, other parts of Maharashtra also witnessed blistering heat

It’s barely end of the March but India is already reeling under intense heat wave with temperature soaring to abnormal levels even before the  summer season.  A report  by  that temperature in Bhira town of Mahrashtra’s Raigadh district touched a searing 46.5 degrees on Tuesday sent Indian Meteorological Department officials in a tizzy. Later, the  weather agency expressed doubts over the unusually high temperature given Bhira is located in the Sahayadri region and is surrounded by mountains with thick forest. Meanwhile, the agency has decided to conduct an inquiry into the matter. The agency also said that it recorded 43 degree Celsius on Monday. It was a holiday on Tuesday, hence temperature was not recorded.

Even Bhira’s temperature may not be accurate, other parts of Maharashtra also witnessed blistering heat. Akola recorded a maximum of 44 degrees Celsius whereas its nearby areas such as Wardha, Nagpur and Chandrapur have recorded 43 degrees Celsius. “Hot conditions, including heat waves, are likely to continue till Saturday (April 1), after which temperatures may drop by a degree or two,” M Mohapatra, DGM of IMD’s National Weather Forecasting Centre, told Times of India. The meteorological department has already issued heat wave warnings for Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, madhya Maharashtra, south UP, south Haryana, Chandigarh and interior Odisha. Such intense heat in the beginning of the summer season can put millions of people at risk for heat-related illnesses. In 2015, intense heat wave claimed lives of over 2000 people in India, while 2016 emerged as the hottest year in recorded history. The temperature  in national capital Delhi may well rise to 40 degree Celsius by end of the March.  Shimla on March 28 recorded its highest ever day temperature in March in the last seven years . As per data available with the state meteorological department, the maximum temperature of Shimla town was recorded at 25.6°C.

A study by US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences predicted that at least 9 major cities in India will witness intensifying heat stress and could experience extremely hot days every year in the future even if India achieves 2015 Paris climate targets.The nine Indian cities are identified as Kolkata, Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Surat, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad.