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Dust storm kills over 100 in UP, Rajasthan: IMD says cyclonic circulation above Haryana trigger; MHA issues fresh warning

A dust storm, which whipped through a large swathe of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, killed over 100 people in a trail of destruction that brought down mud houses, uprooted trees and flattened crops. The Meteorological department has predicted another dust storm in parts of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in the next 48 hours.

IMD has also issued a warning that fresh thunderstorms might strike several parts of India between 5 and 7 May, reported ANI. The home ministry also issued a fresh warning on Friday for possible thunderstorms in West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

India Meteorological Department (IMD) additional director general Mritunjay Mohapatra said the trigger for the storm was a cyclonic circulation over Haryana.

 Dust storm kills over 100 in UP, Rajasthan: IMD says cyclonic circulation above Haryana trigger; MHA issues fresh warning

Houses were damaged in the massive storm. PTI

But also responsible was a western disturbance over north Pakistan and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir, and easterly winds from the Bay of Bengal.

Meanwhile, weather experts told PTI that the phenomenon was restricted to Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh largely because of external and domestic reasons.

There were primarily four reasons that lead to the thunderstorm – excessive heat, availability of moisture, instability in the atmosphere and a trigger for the storm, Mohapatra told PTI.

"The north Indian plains have been witnessing temperatures of over 40 degree Celsius. There were two sources of moisture – a western disturbance over north Pakistan and adjoining Jammu and Kashmir and easterly winds from the Bay of Bengal," Mohapatra said. The cold winds from the western disturbance were making the atmosphere unstable.

"The trigger was a cyclonic circulation over Haryana," Mohapatra said. This led to the formation of two cloud patches, said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president, (Meteorology and Climate Change) of Skymet. One patch moved to north of Delhi, while another patch moved over the Alwar, Agra, and Dholpur belt, which was more deadly.

Mohapatra said it was difficult to record the wind speed as the phenomenon was restricted to only small patches. In Delhi, where a milder version of the dust storm and thunderstorm struck, the wind speed was recorded as 69 km/h.

Over 100 killed, 183 injured

Over 100 people were killed and 183 injured as a massive dust storm, followed by thundershowers, snapped power lines and sent tin roofs and street hoardings flying in parts of eastern Rajasthan and the adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh.

The worst period lasted about 45 minutes, according to reports from Dholpur in Rajasthan. But the extent of the damage was known only this morning.

In Uttar Pradesh, Agra district was the worst hit, accounting for at least 43 deaths and injuries to 51 others, officials said.

Besides Agra, the other storm-hit Uttar Pradesh districts were Bijnor, Bareli, Saharanpur, Pilibhit, Firozabad, Chitrakoot, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli and Unnao.

In Rajasthan, Bharatpur district was the worst affected with 19 killed. Nine people died in Alwar and nine in Dholpur, officials said.

Two of those killed in Dholpur were from Agra in Uttar Pradesh.

Power supply was cut off in many areas as the squall uprooted trees and snapped electricity cables. Officials said it was being gradually restored.

In towns, the storm triggered traffic snarls. Some trains were delayed as overhead power cables broke.

In rural areas, there were reports of crops being damaged due to the hailstorm. Farmers lost cattle and poultry. Uttar Pradesh Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar said 160 heads of cattle were lost.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: May 04, 2018 16:08:38 IST