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41 dead due to dust storms across India, IMD predicts rain, squall over next 72 hours

Dust storms and thunderstorms wreaked havoc in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and the national capital, killing at least 41 people and leaving behind a trail of destruction.

Uttar Pradesh bore the brunt of a thunderstorm and hail that left at least 18 people dead, while 12 people including four children were killed in West Bengal, nine in Andhra Pradesh, and two in Delhi, officials said.

The weather office has said thunderstorms are expected across north-west India over the next 48 to 72 hours, as several weather phenomena, including western disturbances, converge.

Here are the latest developments in the story:

  • The Met office has predicted thunderstorms accompanied by light rains for a huge swathe of northern India over the next two to three days. An orange category warning — which means the weather can significantly impact the lives of people — has been issued for the hilly areas in the north, the northeast and Odisha
  • Uttar Pradesh bore the brunt of a thunderstorm and hail that left at least 18 people dead and 27 others injured. Five people were killed in Kasganj, three in Bulandshahr and two each in Ghaziabad and Saharanpur. One person each died in Etawah, Aligarh, Kannauj, Hapur, Noida and Sambhal. Nearly 100 houses were gutted in a fire which broke out due to lightning in UP’s Sambalpur
  • In Andhra Pradesh, nine persons were killed in lightning strikes. While seven people were killed in Srikakulam district alone, two more were killed in Kadapa, officials said. Various parts of the southern state witnessed rain, accompanied by gales
  • In West Bengal, at least 12 people, including four children, were killed and over 15 injured in lightning strike amid heavy rain, an official of the state disaster management department said. Five deaths were reported from Howrah district, while two deaths each from West Midnapore, North 24-Parganas and Nadia districts and one from Murshidabad district
  • Five people were killed in the Delhi National Capital Region, including a woman who was killed in Greater Noida after a billboard fell on her while driving a scooter, also injuring her son. Flight, rail and metro operations were largely affected
  • Flight operations at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport were put on hold for more than an hour on Sunday evening. About 70 flights were diverted from Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, a spokesperson said
  • Delhi Metro services were hampered too. Thousands of commuters were stuck on the busy Blue Line, which links Dwarka in north-west Delhi to Noida and Vaishali in Uttar Pradesh, for almost 45 minutes. The trains were then slowed down as a precaution
  • In Delhi, the sky turned dark grey around 4:30 pm. Gusty winds and rain lashed the national capital, causing the temperature to drop to 25.2 degrees Celsius
  • The Met office said the storm was a result of western disturbances over Jammu and Kashmir and cyclonic circulation over Haryana. An east-west trough from Haryana to Nagaland and easterly winds from Bay of Bengal are raising wind speed
  • “Saddened by the loss of lives due to storms in some parts of the country… asked officials to provide all possible assistance to those affected,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted
  • Last week, the Met office predicted a huge storm across 13 states. Following the alert, schools in Delhi, Chandigarh and Haryana were shut and extra police forces and emergency services were put on standby. The promised storm, though, turned out to be far lower in intensity and the met office came under fire from people on social media for misleading prediction
  • Sunday’s devastation comes over 10 days after storms hit UP, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Punjab, killing 134 people and injuring over 400.

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