A high-velocity dust storm hit parts of north India on Monday night with a wind speed of up to 70 kilometres per hour, the Met office said.
Delhi and adjoining states Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan experienced gusty winds and squalls resulting in low visibility, power disruption and damage to property.
Trees and electricity poles were uprooted in several areas with reports of power outages.
The Met office on Monday issued a warning and states have been put ion alert for the next couple of days. “The states likely to be affected are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Odisha, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Karnataka and Kerala,” the Met office said.
Authorities issued a list of dos and don’ts and shut schools in the wake of the weather department warning. While the Noida and Gurugram authorities have ordered closure of all schools, the Delhi government has closed only the evening schools.
The Jaipur district administration has advised people to stay indoors. The Haryana government has cancelled the leaves of all officials in municipalities. Fire and other emergency services, too, are on alert.
The Delhi Traffic Police urged people to take precautions while commuting and the Delhi Metro said it was on alert for heavy rain and thunderstorms.
Met officials have attributed the approaching rain and thunderstorm to a western disturbance and cyclonic circulation that are likely to affect northwest India between May 6 and May 9.
“While a western disturbance would hit the western Himalayas and the plains of north India, a cyclonic circulation has also developed over north-east Rajasthan. There is also a trough of low pressure between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. These systems would trigger rain and thunderstorms across north India and Delhi-NCR,” an official said.
Last week, at least 124 people were killed and more than 300 others injured in five states in a powerful to dust storm and rain.
Scientists, however, said it was unlikely the approaching storm would be as potent as its May 2 predecessor. “We are expecting some rain and thunderstorm activities over northwest India. However, prevailing meteorological conditions don’t suggest that the intensity of these storms would be similar to the one that had hit on May 2,” said M Mohapatra, head of weather services at IMD.