New Delhi, May 24
Rains brought the much-needed respite from heat in some states on Wednesday but accompanying thunderstorm killed four people in Uttarakhand, while as many were injured after being struck by lightning in Rajasthan.
A powerful thunderstorm accompanied by rain hit various parts of Uttarakhand, uprooting trees and killing at least four people in separate incidents.
Two people were killed in Haridwar district while the Pauri and Nainital districts recorded one fatality each in the storm that hit the state late on Tuesday, officials said.
A child was killed and three people were injured when a 100-year-old peepal tree uprooted by the storm fell on them in the Jwalapur area of Haridwar district, Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Singh said.
In a separate incident, a pilgrim from Sonepat in Haryana was killed when a tree fell on him in the Chamgadar Tapu area near Haridwar's Har ki Pairi.
Besides a large number of trees, electric poles were also uprooted, causing prolonged power outages in many areas of Haridwar. Several hoardings were also blown away.
The thunderstorm also uprooted trees and electric poles in the Pauri district.
A man was killed and his wife injured when a tree fell on the couple near the Buddha Park in Kotdwar.
According to the police, a lawyer of the Uttarakhand High Court was killed in the Haldwani area of Nainital district when a tree fell on his car.
The thunderstorm uprooted trees in Dehradun as well.
In the national capital, overcast skies, gusty winds and light rain brought relief from the punishing heat in the second half of the day, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The Safdarjung Observatory, Delhi's primary weather station, recorded a minimum temperature of 25.4 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal. The maximum temperature was likely to settle around 39 degrees Celsius.
Under the influence of a western disturbance active over the western Himalayan region, thunderstorms and intermittent rains are predicted in northwest India, including the capital and its surrounding areas over the next two or three days.
This will bring the maximum temperature down to 35 degrees Celsius on Thursday. Below-normal maximum temperatures are predicted until June 30.
A heat wave scorched parts of Delhi on Tuesday with seven of the 22 weather stations in the national capital recording maximum temperatures above the 45-degrees Celsius mark.
The threshold for a heat wave is met when the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40 degrees Celsius in the plains, 37 degrees in the coastal areas, and 30 degrees in the hilly regions, and the departure from normal is at least 4.5 degrees.
Earlier this month, the weather office had predicted below-normal maximum temperatures and fewer heatwave days in northwest India in May.
With the IMD anticipating a slight delay in the arrival of the southwest monsoon, the maximum temperatures are likely to remain above normal for a longer-than-usual period.
Heavy rains lashed various areas of the Jammu region bringing down the temperature.
The Jammu-Srinagar national highway was blocked for a brief period due to landslides triggered by heavy rains in Ramban district.
There were rains in various areas of Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Udhampur, Rajouri and Reasi districts on Wednesday.
A hailstorm hit Cheddi area in Udhampur district, causing damage to crops.
Flash Floods were triggered in some areas of hilly belts of Rajouri and Ramban due to heavy rains.
Heavy rains lashed the Jammu city around late afternoon leading to a dip in temperature.
The rains have brought much relief to the people battling with a scorching heat wave going on for the past one week.
A woman was feared drowned while three people trapped in flash floods were rescued in the nick of time as heavy rains led to sudden rise in water bodies in the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri.
Naseema Akhtar and Kulzum Bi were swept away while crossing the Betar stream in Poonch district late afternoon on Wednesday.
While Akhtar was rescued by a joint team of police and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Kulzum Bi (28) remained untraced.
A rescue operation is on to trace her, an official said, adding they were trapped by a sudden rise in the water level.
In Rajouri district, two men - Ankush Kumar of Rajouri and Sunil Kumar of Punjab – were rescued by a joint team of police and SDRF in an hour-long operation after they were found trapped in flash floods in Darhali river near Tariq bridge.
Rains also lashed parts of Punjab and Haryana in the early hours of Wednesday leading to a slight dip in the temperatures.
According to the Meteorological Department, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Patiala, Bathinda, Barnala, Mohali, Ferozepur, Gurdaspur, Ambala, Hisar, Karnal, Panchkula, Kurukshetra, and Yamunanagar, among other places, received a decent pour.
The rains caused a fall in the temperature, which had been hovering above normal limits for the past several days.
In the desert state of Rajasthan, the maximum temperature dropped by a few notches under the effect of a new western disturbance that led to hailstorm and rain in many areas of the state, including capital Jaipur, on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Meteorological Department, there is a possibility of intense thunderstorms and rain in the state in the coming days.
Rain and hailstorm along with strong winds was recorded in Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Alwar, Karauli and other places in the state.
A spokesman of the department said that in the last 24 hours, due to the effect of the active western disturbance, the state has received scattered rains. Maximum rainfall was recorded at 45 mm in Sikrai in Dausa and 40 mm in Nohar of Hanumangarh.
Meanwhile, four women who had taken shelter under a tree were injured due to a lightning strike in Barauli village in Dholpur district on Tuesday.
The department's spokesman said that due to the active western disturbance, there is a possibility of light to moderate rain with thunderstorms, strong thunderstorms in the districts of Bikaner, Jaipur, Ajmer, Bharatpur, Jodhpur and Kota divisions.
On May 25, the effect of this system will continue in the areas of Bikaner, Jaipur, Bharatpur and Kota divisions, he said.
He said there is no possibility of heatwave due to a drop of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius in maximum temperature in all parts of the state from Wednesday itself.
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