Image: Indians cool off at fountain
Manish Swarup  /  AP
Fountains like this one in New Delhi, India, became magnets for people seeking relief from the heat wave Thursday.
updated 5/1/2009 10:40:00 AM ET 2009-05-01T14:40:00

At least 18 people have died in a scorching heat wave that has swept through more than a dozen Indian states, the weather department and officials said Friday.

The highest temperature of about 118 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded Thursday at Khandua in the central Madhya Pradesh state.

The heat wave has hit the western state of Rajasthan, the northern state of Uttarakhand and at least a dozen other states, the India Meteorological Department said.

Authorities have confirmed at least 18 people died from heat stroke in the eastern state of Orissa, according to Manoranjan Choudhary, an official at the state revenue department, which monitors heat-related deaths. Thirty-six other suspected heat wave deaths are being investigated, he added.

The meteorological department said the sweltering conditions are likely to continue for at least two more days.

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