Thunderstorm, rain in Delhi-NCR; cyclone 'Sagar' forms near Gujarat;updates

The met has issued a weather warning for May 16-20, and also said that thunderstorms accompanied by winds at 50-70 kmph could will hit 'isolated places' in Gangetic West Bengal and Odisha today

dust storm in delhi ncr
A view of India Gate during a dust storm in New Delhi.

Thunderstorm and squall are "very likely" to hit some areas of eastern Uttar Pradesh tomorrow, the meteorological office has warned.

It said the districts that could be affected are Siddhartnagar, Kushinagar and Maharajganj.

In its forecast, the MeT office said rain and thunderstorm are very likely at isolated places over east Uttar Pradesh and weather is likely to remain dry over western part of the state. Over the past week, thunderstorms and dust storms have wreaked havoc across northern and eastern parts of the country. Reports suggest that the number of casualties could be anywhere between 80 and 100. Experts have opined that the freak weather phenomenon is due to a western disturbance that originates in the Mediterranean Sea and brings rainfall to northwestern India. 

Western disturbance is a normal phenomenon that can be observed over the western Himalayas and north Indian plains from October to March. However, what is unusual is its occurrence in April-May, several senior IMD scientists have been reported as saying. 

The met department on Wednesday issued a weather warning for May 16-20 and said that thunderstorms accompanied by winds at 50-70 kmph could hit 'isolated places' in Gangetic West Bengal and Odisha on Wednesday morning. 

Earlier, the department had said that the storms would last for 48-72 hours. 

Here are the top 10 developments around the thunderstorms/dust storms that have hit India over the past week:

1. Thunderstorm, rain, 50 Kmph winds hit Del
hi: National capital New Delhi and the areas adjoining it have been hit by a thunderstorm and light rain this evening. The National Disaster Management Authority has advised people to try and stay indoors.
Winds with speeds ranging from 50 to 70 kilometres per hour will also accompany the thunderstorm.

"Thunderstorm with rain would occur over many places of Delhi and adjoining areas of Narnaul, Mahendargarh, Bawal, Kosli, Charkhi Dadri, Bhiwani, Rohtak, Sonipat, Ganaur, Nuh, Manesar, Palwal, Sohna, Faridabad, Ballabhgarh, Noida and Alwar during next two hours," the NDMA tweeted, crediting the information to the Indian Meteorological Department.

2. No threat to coastal Gujarat from cyclonic storm 'Sagar':  Cyclone Sagar forms in Arabian Sea: According to Skymet, the deep depression in Arabian Sea has intensified into a cyclone ‘Sagar’. It is the first cyclonic storm of the season to develop in the Indian waters. At present, Sagar is seen over Gulf of Aden near latitude 13.2 degree N and longitude 48.7 degree E, around 400 km east­northeast of Aden in Yemen and 560 km west­northwest of Socotra Islands.
With system moving in open waters, it may gain more strength and sustain the strength of a tropical storm for at least next 12 hours. Thereafter, as mentioned earlier, the system would gradually start weakening on account of close proximity to the coast.

However, Skymet Weather has made it clear that the cyclone has got no bearing off and along the Indian West Coast. However, not willing to take any chance, the Gujarat state administration has initiated precautionary measures that include hoisting of Distant Warning (DW) signal number 2 at all major ports along the Gujarat coast.

3. IMD issues warnings for next 4 days: The meteorological department has issued warnings for the next four days. The notification says West Bengal and Odisha will see storms today.  

4. Delhi wakes up to dust storm: A massive dust storm hit the national capital in the wee hours of Wednesday. Strong winds, accompanied by dust, lashed the city while bringing a sudden decline in the temperature. 

5. 80 deaths so far: The latest dust storm came days after a deadly storm on May 13-14 claimed over 80 lives across five states in the country. At that time, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had said that the thunderstorm will continue for the next 48 to 72 hours.

As many as 80 were killed in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and east Uttar Pradesh due to thunderstorms and lightning with Uttar Pradesh alone recording 51 deaths.

6. 10,000 people marked safe on Facebook safety tool: Facebook on Tuesday said nearly 10,000 people have marked themselves safe till now, using the social network's "Safety Check" feature that was activated on Monday following storms across India.  The crisis response tool, which is activated when a lot of people in an affected area post about an incident, can also help users check to see if their friends in an affected area are safe too.

7. Compensation for victims in Muzaffarnagar: District authorities have distributed ex-gratia of Rs 400,000 each to family members of two persons killed in the district in the recent storm.

Zishan (22) and Riyasat (55) were killed in Mujheda and Pawti villages respectively in the district on Sunday. Both were killed after a tree fell on them, said District Magistrate Rajiv Sharma.

8. UP farmers suffer loss of mango crop: Apart from inflicting loss of lives and properties, the recent thunderstorm has also destroyed the mango harvest in northern India.

One of the affected farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur district told ANI on Monday, that he suffered a loss of Rs 100,000. He appealed to the government to provide give him an aid. "I have suffered a loss of about Rs 100,000. It will be good if the government provides us compensation, otherwise we are destroyed," the farmer said.

9. Rain, hailstorm lash Odisha, flights diverted: Rain accompanied by gusty winds and hailstrom on Monday lashed parts of Odisha including the state capital Bhubaneswar.  The Regional Centre of India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued thunderstorm warning for as many as 17 districts of Odisha.

The latest Doppler weather radar and satellite imageries indicate that thunderstorm accompanied by hail and gusty surface wind speed reaching 50 to 60 kmph is likely to occur in these districts, an IMD bulletin stated.

10. Frequent western disturbances behind thunderstorms in north India, experts: Thunderstorms, dust storms, rainfall during summers have been a normal phenomenon in northern India. "But not of this severity. The frequency of western disturbance is unusually high," said Mahesh Pahlawat, vice-president (Meteorology and Climate Change) at Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency. Mritunjay Mohapatra, additional director general of India Meteorological Department, said May alone has witnessed three western disturbances until now while April saw one. Mohapatra said the frequent western disturbances are one of the main reasons for the thunderstorms and dust storms. The thunderstorms on May on 2-3 and May 13-14 saw wind gusting at more than 100 kmph. 

51 deaths in Uttar Pradesh, state government gets into action: At least 51 people were killed and 83 others injured in a severe storm that hit parts of Uttar Pradesh, officials said on Monday. In the wake of the events, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Aditynath directed all District Magistrates and Commissioners to provide immediate relief and ensure medical assistance to the injured.