Deadly storms batter India

storms hit Jaipur;
and (inset) damage
in Alwar, Rajasthan
DESTRUCTION: The storms hit Jaipur; and (inset) damage in Alwar, Rajasthan

WARNING OF MORE EXTREME WEATHER ON THE WAY AFTER 125 PEOPLE KILLED AUTHORITIES in India warned that thunder­storms accompanied by squall and hail are likely to hit large parts of north­ern and eastern India and isolated places in the south on Tuesday (8), a week after deadly storms killed 125 people. Dust clouds plunged swathes of north India into darkness last Thursday (3) as choking winds of more than 130km (80 miles) per hour swept across the states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Punjab, flattening houses, walls, trees and power pylons. At least 111 people were killed, many as they slept when walls and roofs came tumbling down on them. Another 14 people were killed in the southern Andhra Pradesh state which was hammered by more than 41,000 lightning strikes last Wednesday (2), disaster officials said. Uttar Pradesh and Ra­jasthan bore the brunt of the dust storm that was blamed on a collision of two weather fronts with In­dia in the grip of higher temperatures than normal. Some districts reported 45 minutes of destructive winds followed by fierce lightning storms. Similar storms kill many people each year in India but this was one of the most severe in recent decades. On Monday (7), India’s Meteorological Depart­ment (IMD) issued a warn­ing of thunderstorms ac­companied by squall and hail in large parts of north­ern and eastern India, prompting emergency measures such as closure of schools and cancelling civic officials’ holidays. Shivam Lohia, who owns a resort hotel in Alwar district of Rajasthan, abandoned his car last week on the road and ran for his life after it was almost blown away. “I haven’t seen such a devastating storm in at least 25 years. Everyone was scared and running for cov­er as trees and homes were getting blown away. It was a nightmare,” Lohia…

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