(Bloomberg) -- The maximum temperature in India crossed 50C (122F) for the first time this summer, just a whisker away from an all-time high, as deadly heat waves in several states continue to pose severe health risks for millions.

The mercury soared to 50.5C on Tuesday in Churu, a city in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, according to the India Meteorological Department. The record for the country is 51C, set in May 2016 at Phalodi in the same region. 

Extreme weather events in India have been exacerbated by climate change, with the frequency and intensity of floods, droughts and cyclones rising year after year. The South Asian nation is not alone in facing the vagaries of nature. The world posted an 11th month of record-breaking heat in April, with warmer conditions engulfing Asia and a hotter-than-usual summer predicted in Europe. A sizzling season poses risks for lives, strains power grids and wilts crops.   

Delhi’s Aya Nagar recorded an all-time high of 47.6C for the center, while Mungeshpur automatic weather station, which was set up some years ago, saw 49.9C, the IMD said. The maximum temperatures in several areas of the nation are expected to rise by as much as 5C in the next few days, it said. 

Authorities are advising people living in some northern and western states to avoid exposure to the blazing sun, stay hydrated and wear light-colored clothes. They have been sprinkling water on roads, moving some people to shelter homes and putting up banners as reminders to take precautionary steps. There are reports of long blackouts as demand for cooling appliances has surged.   

India has recorded 16,000 cases of heat stroke — a medical condition when the sweating mechanism fails and the body is unable to cool down — and 60 deaths since March 1, the Mint newspaper said on Friday. However, the government has not confirmed reports of weather-related hospitalizations and deaths, according to media reports.  

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