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t's summer in the northern hemisphere and it's hot.
At least 24 people have died in a scorching heat wave that has swept over half a dozen Indian states, officials said. Blistering hot, dry winds have swept across most parts of north and central India, wilting plants and forcing people to avoid the outdoors when they can. The highest temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit this week was recorded in Bundelkhand district of northern Uttar Pradesh state. In parts of the state, villagers performed rituals to induce rain, pouring water on children lying on the ground with their hands clasped toward the sky.
In Britian, the meteorological office said it had raised the country's heat wave alert status amid the country's warmest spell in three years. The Met Office said Wednesday it had raised the heat wave alert to level three -- the second highest -- for the first time since 2006. Temperatures reached 86 degrees Farenheit in London by mid-afternoon. Britain's health service said it received more than 300 calls Tuesday from people suffering from heat-related ailments.
In the United States, Memphis, Tenn. authorities suspect two more people died from the heat on Wednesday, bringing the total to six so far this year. In Maryland, health officials warned residents to take precautions to deal with summer heat following two heat-related deaths. In Texas, mostly sunny skies were predicted for the Gulf Coast with highs near 100 and heat index values around 107 near Houston. (19 images)
Children lie in sludge as a ritual to induce rain, Nari Bari, about 30 miles from Allahabad, India, Friday, June 26. At least 24 people have died in a scorching heat wave that has swept through at least half a dozen Indian states, the weather department and officials said Friday. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
Storm clouds gather and lightning strikes over the Houses of Parliament in London during a break in the hot weather on Saturday. AP / Lewis Whyld
A rainbow effect is seen as children play in a fountain on the South Bank of the Thames in London, Wednesday, July 1. The heatwave warning alert was raised from level two to level three Wednesday as Britain prepared for more baking temperatures. AP / Akira Suemori
A man swims in the Serpentine Lido in central London, on July 1. AFP / Getty Images / Ben Stansall
A woman sunbathes in St James's Park as members of the public walk past on July 1, in London, England. Getty Images / Oli Scarff
Children cool off playing at a water fountain in the plaza of a shopping mall in Beijing on July 1. A heat wave and prolonged drought continue to plague northern China, according to state media, as temperatures in beijing have hovered around 95 degrees Farenheit for almost ten days with no sign of a temperature drop. With the hottest June in almost four decades, Beijing has also reported an all-time high in water usage of 2.78 million cubic metres daily. AFP / Getty Images / Frederic J. Brown
A Chinese boy cools off from the summer heat by the banks of a Beijing canal on June 28. Beijing has had scorching weather since June 23 with daily maximum temperatures exceeding 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.AFP / Getty Images / Frederic J. Brown
People seen on the beach in Nice, southern France, Tuesday, June 30. AP / Lionel Cironneau
A small tortoise shell butterfly (aglais urticae) feasts on a blossom in a meadow near the Schauinsland mountain in the Black Forest, southern Germany, Monday, June 29. The weather is warm and sultry. AP / Winfried Rothermel
A man somersaults into a canal with his dog on a hot afternoon in Jammu, India, Saturday, June 27. At least 24 people have died in a scorching heat wave that has swept over half a dozen Indian states, officials said Friday. AP / Channi Anand
Religious Muslim tourists on their way to Ajmer Sharif shrine take a nap under their tourist bus to keep off the heat as they visit the holy Muslim sites in New Delhi, India, Friday, June 26. AP / Saurabh Das
A young girl carries a pot of water as a man and a woman use hand fans for relief from heat at Barha village, outskirts of Allahabad, India, Sunday, June 28. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
Children play in the rain in Allahabad, India, Tuesday, June 30. The much awaited monsoon rains arrived in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh providing relief from the heat wave that had swept the state, according to news reports. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh
A child looks on after filling bottles of drinking water supplied in a tanker, on a hot summer afternoon in New Delhi, India, Saturday, June 27. AP / Manish Swarup
People sleep in the shade of a tree at a park on a hot summer afternoon in New Delhi, India, Saturday, June 27. AP / Manish Swarup
Crystal Ybarra of Sparks, Nev., cools off at the Sparks interactive water fountain on Sunday, June 28, in Sparks, Nev. Temperatures in the area reached the upper 90's. AP / Kevin Clifford
A man sits on a yoga mat in Bryant Park on June 30, in New York City. After weeks of unseasonably wet weather, New York and New England have been experiencing dry and warm days which have brought about a flurry of activity in area parks and recreation areas. Getty Images / Spencer Platt
A telecommunications line worker keeps cool under a large yellow umbrella as he services damaged phone lines in Conroe, Texas, Friday, June 26. Temperatures in the area reached over 100 degrees Farenheit with a heat index rating as high as 105 degrees according to the National Weather Service. AP / Eric S. Swist
Christopher Troncoso, 2, of Appleton does his best to stay cool while wading in a water fountain at City Park Thursday, June 25, in Appleton, Wis. AP / Dan Powers