Nine more people succumbed to blistering heat in Odisha as soaring mercury coupled with hot and dusty winds today scorched vast swathes of northern and eastern India where temperatures breached the 45 degrees mark at several places.
However, the national capital Delhi got some respite from the heat with the maximum temperature dropping to 42.7 degrees Celsius from yesterday's 44 degrees Celsius.
The minimum temperature, however, rose from yesterday's 27.8 degrees Celsius to 32.5 degrees Celsius, the highest this season.
In the east, the Odisha government today cautioned the public against venturing out of their houses between 11 am and 3 pm as the toll due to sunstroke mounted to 19 in the state with the deaths of 9 more people in the last two days. The state reeled under searing heat with Sambalpur recording 46.7 degrees Celsius, Hirakud 46.2, Jharsuguda 46, Titlagarh 45.8, Bolangir 45.5 and Sundergarh 45 degrees Celsius.
The interior districts of the state also experienced an intense heat wave spell, with the mercury hovering between 44 and 47 degrees Celsius.
Uttar Pradesh too sizzled with temperatures shooting up to five degrees above normal at several places in the state. Allahabad continued to be the hottest place in the state
recording 47.2 degrees Celsius, five degrees above normal, followed by Agra with 46.1 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal.
According to the MeT office, Nagpur in the west, which recorded a maximum temperature of 46.8 degrees Celsius, and Allahabad were among the hottest places in the country. Varanasi recorded 45.7 degrees Celsius, five degrees above normal, and Kanpur 45 degrees Celsius, four notches above normal, MeT officials said.
Dusty winds and rising mercury scorched Rajasthan as well with the average temperature staying above 40 degrees Celsius in most places. Kota recorded 44.8 degrees Celsius, Churu 44 degrees, Sriganganagar 42.5, Jaisalmer 42.2, Jaipur 41.9 and Bikaner 41.6 degrees Celsius.
Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh also simmered despite a marginal dip in the mercury level. Rohtak in Haryana braved a hot day at 43.1 degrees Celsius, three notches more than normal, while the maximum in Hisar and Bhiwani settled at 42.3 and 42 degrees respectively.
In Punjab, Amritsar (41.4 degrees Celsius), Ludhiana (41 degrees Celsius) and Patiala (41.7 degrees Celsius) recorded near similar maximum, showing a slight dip from yesterday's temperatures. Chandigarh recorded a maximum of 40.3 degrees Celsius, one notch above normal.
Dust storms or thunder showers with light rains are likely to occur at isolated places in the two states during the next two days, the MeT office has said.
The hills and valleys of Himachal Pradesh got marginal relief from the heat as the mercury dropped by two or three degrees due to strong winds. Una, which remained the hottest in the region, recorded a maximum temperature of 39.8 degrees Celsius against yesterday's 43.2 degrees, while the state capital Shimla recorded a high of 27.9 degrees Celsius.
Despite the marginal dip in the mercury level, the temperature still stayed three to four degrees above normal in the state, MeT officials said.
The MeT office has predicted thunderstorms at isolated places in the state during the next 24 hours.