Parts of the country are still in the midst of a severe heatwave, with extremely high temperatures likely to continue in West Madhya Pradesh till Saturday and in Chhattisgarh till Friday, the India Meteorological Department warned on Thursday.

Chandrapur in the Vidarbha region recorded the maximum temperature of 44 degree Celsius as of 2.30 pm on Thursday. According to private forecaster Skymet Weather, the temperature in Delhi at 5 pm was 40 degree Celsius. Churu in Rajasthan hit 43 degree Celsius.

The weather department said Vidarbha and coastal Andhra Pradesh, East Madhya Pradesh, West Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Telangana, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal will experience heatwave conditions till Saturday.

The heatwave is expected to extend till June 17 in parts of West Madhya Pradesh, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Vidarbha in Maharashtra, East Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal.

This has been one of the longest and most intense heatwaves to have hit India in decades and has claimed at least 36 lives, according to The New York Times.

Anup Kumar Srivastava, a drought and heat wave expert at the National Disaster Management Authority, said the number of states that experienced heat waves was nine in 2015 and increased to 19 in 2018. It is expected to reach 23 this year.

“This year, the number of heat wave days have also increased - and it’s not just day temperature, night temperatures have also been high,” Srivastava said. He said the heat wave this year is the worst ever, reported Reuters.

The heat is making birds fall from the sky

The intense heat has even affected birds. There have been instances of birds dropping from the sky out of exhaustion in Hyderabad, The Hindu reported on Thursday. The temperature in the city had gone up to 47 degrees Celsius. On Wednesday, the temperature was down to 37.7 degree Celsius.

Veterinary expert and retired Deputy Director of Nehru Zoological Park M Navin Kumar said free ranging birds are more at risk during the summer. “Birds such as cranes and storks can survive hot weather as they stay in water bodies,” Kumar said. “Those flying high are more affected.” Kites are especially vulnerable as they are constantly exposed to the sun.

Kumar said the lack of spaces to perch have also contributed to exhaustion in birds. Birds negotiating a terrain of barren land, or where hills have been razed to ground and rocks are blasted, are more prone to die of heatstroke, he added.