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Posted at: May 15, 2018, 2:35 AM; last updated: May 15, 2018, 9:20 AM (IST)

Storm toll 80, UP worst-hit

Experts say climate change, unusual Western Disturbance main reasons
Storm toll 80, UP worst-hit
Lightning during a thunderstorm in Jabalpur. PTI

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 14

The violent thunderstorm on Sunday, which claimed as many as 80 lives in five states and caused severe damage to property and agriculture, seems to have again caught off-guard the authorities concerned with its intensity almost like the May 2 event.

This was the third spell this May. But the overcautious alertness exercised by government agencies in the subsequent weather event around May 7 was missing, which again raised a 

question mark on early warning systems of the departments concerned.

As per the Home Ministry, the lightning and thunderstorm toll in Sunday’s event was 51 in Uttar Pradesh, 14 in West Bengal, 12 in Andhra Pradesh, two in Delhi and one in Uttarakhand.

Of the 136 persons injured in lightning strikes and thunderstorm, 123 were from UP, 11 from Delhi and two from Uttarakhand.

Meteorologists, who negate the charge, say such type of highly inclement weather systems are being experienced almost after a decade. The reason could be climate change, “unusual behaviour” of Western Disturbances, higher than normal temperature and humidity this pre-monsoon summer.

They say such activity is common during this time of the season but the intensity is a startling factor. 

Mahesh Palawat of Skymet said: “General alertness and probability of any weather activity as a dust storm or thundershower can be given two to three days in advance but the exact location and intensity with fair accuracy can only be told three-to-four hours in advance.” 

Meanwhile, the next couple of days are “safe” because of lowering of temperatures but the same cannot be said about subsequent WDs, especially if temperatures rise.

There are many reasons for confluence of weather systems on Sunday, as was on May 2. Climate change could be one of the reasons for the “unusual behaviour” of WDs this summer. 

Counting losses

  • With 51 deaths and 123 injured, UP was the worst-hit state. Around 150 properties were damaged and 67 animals were killed in the state
  • Bareilly was the worst-hit district where eight persons died when the minar of a masjid collapsed in Behdi. Most deaths and injuries occurred due to falling of trees and hoardings, collapsing of walls, and lightening
  • The state administration was on high alert as the Met department had predicted more thunderstorms for 26 districts on Monday TNS

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