A good indication of how hot it is right now in India: The roads are melting. May is typically the country's hottest month, but temperatures have hit especially scorching levels over the past 10 days—nearly 117 degrees in Jharkhand and Odisha states on Wednesday, about 10 degrees hotter than normal—with 1,826 deaths as a result, the Times of India reports. That's a 20-year high for a heat wave death toll, the Guardian adds. Climate change is probably partly to blame, CNN reports, but the area's high mountains also halt cool air from the northeast, a meteorologist says. Hot and dry winds from Pakistan and northwest India, known as the Loo winds, have turned the region arid.
India's dense population isn't helping; in less-crowded Pakistan and Afghanistan, temperatures are more bearable. To make matters worse, a third of India's population doesn't have electricity, which means no air conditioning or refrigeration. So what are Indians doing to beat the heat? Some were spotted taking a dip in the Arabian Sea and in water tanks, while authorities warned people to stay indoors, wear light clothing, and drink lots of fluids, the Guardian reports. A monsoon scheduled to hit the country soon should bring some relief. Experts predict India, particularly its southern regions, will see more heat waves in the future. They could stretch as long as a month.