Two people lost their lives Maharashtra as the first heat wave of the year hit the state on Friday. In fact, the Met department warned of a "moderate heat wave" in some parts.
"The sudden rise in temperature has claimed lives of two persons. Both were above 60 years. One is from Aurangabad while another is from Solapur district," Health Minister Deepak Sawant told PTI.
As per the India Meteorological Department, many districts in Maharashtra recorded maximum temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius or above in the last two days.
"The Health Ministry has issued instructions to all the state-run hospitals to open centres for sunstroke patients. Government-run hospitals, primary health centres and district health officers have been categorically asked to sensitise people about 'heat therapy' and avoiding exposure to the scorching sun," Sawant said.
Last summer nine persons had died in the state due to sunstroke, as per the government data.
IMD officials said this afternoon that North-Central Maharashtra will face "a moderate heat wave" for the next 48 hours. This area comprises Dhule, Nandurbar, Jalgaon, Nashik and some districts from Marathwada.
"We have issued an alert of moderate heat wave for this region. It means the temperature during the day would be higher by 2-3 degrees Celsius than normal," V K Rajeev, director, IMD, western region, told PTI.
Northerly winds were pushing up the temperatures in Maharashtra, said K S Hosalikar, deputy director, IMD Mumbai.
He added that "wind discontinuity" in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu could result in some showers in Marathwada on April 1 and 2.(Reopens BES 23)
Meanwhile, IMD has sent an official to Bhira in the Raigad district of coastal Maharashtra to investigate the staggeringly high temperature recorded there two days ago.
The observatory at Bhira recorded maximum temperature of 46.5 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.
IMD, which expressed doubts about the finding yesterday, has sent an official to check whether the observatory at Bhira meets the set parameters.
"It is a part-time observatory and we are going to find out why it is reporting such a high temperature. We also need to check the condition of the equipment which is in use for several years," an IMD official said here.
The village is surrounded by a dense forest cover and Sahyadri hills, and a "part-time observatory" was set up there mainly for rain mapping but it also records temperatures, the official said.
IMD was sceptical about Tuesday's finding, as Bhira and neighbouring areas, being in the coastal region, have never reported such a high temperature.