Rain, duststorms brings relief from heat wave in parts of India (Roundup)

New Delhi, May 28 (IANS) A wave of relief swept over the people in parts of the country Friday as duststorms and scattered rainfall brought down the mercury levels. However, most others, particularly in Gujarat, continued to battle the scorching heat.

In Gujarat, over 150 people, 55 of them in Ahmedabad alone, have lost their lives in the relentless heat wave sweeping the state

for the last 10 days, with the elderly and newborns being the worst affected, official sources said.

With the maximum temperature oscillating between 34 degrees Celsius in comparitively green south Gujarat to 54 degrees plus in water-scarce Saurashtra-Kutch and north Gujarat, heatstroke cases have seen a record rise in the past 10 days.

In contrast, in Bihar, where the temperatures have not dipped below the 40 degree Celsius mark for the past few weeks, an overcast sky spelt good news for the state’s residents.

According to the state met officials, the maximum temperature hovered around 35 degrees Celsius in Patna Friday, while the minimum was at 27 degrees.

Met officials have predicted that the weather would continue to be windy and pleasant over the next few days.

In Delhi similarly, a duststorm early in the day brought down the mercury level and paved the way for a pleasant day.

In contrast to the continuing day temperature of 42-43 degrees Celsius – if not more – over the past few weeks, Friday saw the maximum temperature in the capital dropping to 37 degrees Celsius, three notches below the average for this time of the year.

The minimum was recorded at one degree above average at 28.8 degrees Celsius.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has further forecast a pleasant weekend for the capital’s residents with the maximum and minimum temperature expected to hover around 39 and 27 degrees Celsius respectively.

In Himachal Pradesh, widespread rains Friday brought cheer to tourists who have thronged the hill stations to escape the heat wave in the northern plains.

‘Shimla and its nearby places received significant rain and hailstorm after days of dry spell. This was the first good rainfall of the season in almost the entire district,’ Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office there, told IANS.

He said other popular tourist resorts like Kasauli, Manali, Palampur, Dharamsala, Chamba and Dalhousie also experienced rain.

Shimla recorded a minimum of 17.1 degrees Friday against Thursday’s low of 21.2 degrees. Kalpa recorded a low of 6.5 degrees against Thursday’s 10 degrees.

The Kashmir valley also received incessant rains Friday, resulting in swelling of the rivers and prompting authorities to issue a flood ale’t. ‘The minimum temperature in the valley will stay around 13 degrees Celsius during the next 24 ho’rs,’ a met department official said.

Even as these parts enjoyed a pleasant weather, other places like Orissa continued to reel under the heat wave, with the maximum temperature over 40 degrees Celsius in several places, but mostly in western parts of the state.

The death toll in the state due to sunstroke since March has risen to 34, officials said.

An official of the Bhubaneswar meteorological centre said the heat wave conditions would continue to prevail in the state although light rain or thundershowers may occur in isolated places.