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Heatwave scorches East, South India; Telangana temperatures may hit 45°C: IMD

Vast swathes of eastern and southern India continued to reel under an intense heatwave on Thursday, with temperatures soaring well above the 40°C mark in several regions. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has warned that the scorching conditions are likely to persist over the next few days, with some areas in Telangana potentially experiencing maximum temperatures of up to 45°C.

IMD scientist Dr. A. Sravani highlighted the severity of the heatwave gripping Telangana. “The maximum temperatures in Telangana have been on an upward curve over the last few days, shooting up to 44°C. Over the next two to three days, the heatwave that has been building up steadily will intensify further,” she said.

Sravani said that while the state has been recording maximum temperatures above 40°C in most areas, some districts have already witnessed the mercury breach the 44°C mark. Nizamabad district recorded a sweltering 44.1°C, while Ramagundam in Peddapalli district saw temperatures soar to 44.4°C.

According to IMD’s official X handle, Rentachintala in Andhra Pradesh recorded the highest maximum temperature on Thursday at a searing 46.2°C, followed by Tirupathi and Rayalaseema at 45.6°C, Khammam and Telangana at 45°C, Talcher in Odisha at 45°C, and Purulia and Gangetic West Bengal at 44.1°C.

The IMD has issued a red alert for severe heat waves in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha, stating that the conditions are likely to persist over the next two to three days. Additionally, an ‘Orange’ alert has been issued for Telangana, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh over the next 4-5 days.

The intense heat wave has not only affected the general public but also political leaders campaigning for the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Parties across the spectrum have been wary of carrying out campaign-related activities during the day and have instead been going door-to-door and holding rallies and roadshows before 10 am or after 5 pm.

District administrations have also been running awareness campaigns among voters in the morning or evening hours, and establishments such as shops and religious places have been closed during the afternoon to avoid the scorching heat.

Dr. Priyanka Ala, the district magistrate of Bhadradri Kothagudem, stated that special arrangements are being made at polling stations to ensure voter safety on the polling day of May 13. “We have decided to make special arrangements at the polling stations, including providing Assured Minimum Facilities, adequate drinking water facilities, toilets, and special seating arrangements under the shade. Each polling station will have a minimum of two to four tents, and medical kits, including ORS, will also be arranged,” she said.

As the heatwave intensifies, political parties and district administrations are making elaborate arrangements to facilitate voting on May 13, including arranging auto-rickshaws to ferry voters to their designated polling booths and providing cold beverages, drinking water, and tents to enable them to cast their votes comfortably.

Special arrangements have also been made at hospitals to attend to voters should they complain of discomfort or distress on account of the prevailing heatwave on polling day.

(Inputs from ANI)

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Last Updated: 22nd May 2024