New Delhi: Overcast skies and rains brought much needed respite from the blistering heat in several parts of northern India Saturday. However, heat wave conditions continued in most states, including Rajasthan and Orissa, from where many deaths have been reported in the last one month.
The national capital saw pleasant weather with an overcast sky but the temperatures remained high.
Inspite of thunderstorm activity and rains in some parts, the maximum temperature rose to 41.2 degrees from Friday`s 37.7 degrees. Likewise, the minimum temperature was a notch above average at 29.1 degrees in contrast to 28.8 degrees Friday.
Incessant rains in the Kashmir Valley raised the water level in the Jhelum river to the danger mark, prompting the authorities to sound a flood alert. The met department said the weather would improve from Saturday.
"Srinagar recorded rainfall of 57 mm during the last 24 hours (till Saturday afternoon) which is heavy by our standards although the previous record for 24 hours is 66 mm of rain in May 1987," AR Zargar, the duty officer at the local weather office told IANS.
In Himachal Pradesh, rain and snow on the second consecutive day Saturday further brought down the temperature, with the weatherman forecasting better times across the state.
Most of the prominent hill stations located in the mid and low hills, including Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Kasauli, Dalhousie, Dharamsala, Palampur and Manali, saw moderate rains whereas the higher reaches saw mild spells of snow.
"There are reports of snow in the higher reaches of Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu and Kinnaur districts," Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, told IANS.
He said 4 cm of snow fell in Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district.
Temperatures dropped across the state. While Shimla saw a maximum of 24.9 degrees, it was 16.3 degrees at Kalpa in Kinnaur district, 28.4 degrees at Dharamsala in Kangra district and 28.6 degrees at Bhuntar in Kullu district.
In Punjab and Haryana, temperatures dropped in the day due to overcast conditions.
The maximum temperature in Amritsar city of Punjab was 38.8 degrees Celsius while in Ludhiana city it was 39.1 degrees.
Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, recorded a maximum temperature of 38.6 degrees, one degree below average, and a minimum temperature of 25 degrees.
The maximum temperature dropped to 38.8 degrees in Ambala while Karnal`s was at 37.8 degrees, four degrees below average.
However, an 18-year-old rickshaw puller and a middle-aged police constable died of heat stroke in Punjab Friday, health officials said Saturday.
There was no respite for the people of Orissa, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
In Orissa, several places recorded maximum temperatures of over 40 degrees. The state government confirmed one more death due to sunstroke, taking the toll in the heat wave since March to 35.
Most parts of Maharashtra registered an average temperature of 44.5 degrees, with the Vidarbha region continuing to register the highest temperature at 45.5 degrees.
Though official figures are not available, the death toll in Maharashtra has crossed the 130 mark this month.
In the desert state of Rajasthan, the maximum temperature hovered between 41 and 44 degrees. Even the minimum temperature was above average.
Barmer was the hottest with a maximum temperature of 44.6 degrees. Jaipur recorded a maximum of 42.6 and minimum of 31.6 degrees, both several notches above average.
At least 50 people have died due to the heat wave in the state this year.
There was some respite in store for Gujarat following an average drop of two degrees in temperatures across the state, though dusty winds continued in parts of Saurashtra.
Eight deaths were reported in Ahmedabad over the last 24 hours till Saturday afternoon, the bulk of them the elderly who succumbed to heat-related complications.
The weather bureau attributed the fall in temperature to the change in wind direction, though the temperature still rules above average.