More than 40 killed in lightning storm across Delhi-NCR, UP, Bengal, Andhra

More than 40 people were killed and many injured as severe storms accompanied by heavy rain, lightning and gusty winds swept through large swathes of the country on Sunday. The deaths were reported in the national capital, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

Two people were killed as a powerful dust storm and rain lashed Delhi, where flight services and road traffic were disrupted.

In Uttar Pradesh, 21 people, including a tourist from Maharashtra, died and 28 were injured due to inclement weather conditions, according to reports.

According to the state government, the casualties included five deaths in Kasganj, three in Bulandshahr, two each in Saharanpur and Ghaziabad, one each in Kannauj, Aligarh, Hapur, Gautam Buddha Nagar and Sambhal. Unconfirmed reports said two people died in Barabanki and two others elsewhere.

A government spokesperson said chief minister Yogi Adityanath has directed district magistrates and commissioners to provide relief to the storm-affected people and adequate medical care to the injured.

Mathura parliamentarian Hema Malini was stranded on the road for some time as a tree blocked the route when she was on the way to Naujheel. It was removed to let her car pass.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “Saddened by the loss of lives due to storms in some parts of the country. Condolences to the bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of those injured.”

On May 2, a thunderstorm killed 134 people across northern India, with hundreds more reported injured.

In West Bengal, 12 deaths, including four children, were reported from different districts. Five people died after being struck by lightning when they were at a mango orchard in Howrah district’s Uluberia. Nadia, North 24 Parganas and West Midnapore districts reported two deaths each, and one person died in Murshidabad.

According to the state disaster management department, Sunday’s toll took the total number of storm-related deaths in West Bengal to 46 since April 30.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee said her government will provide compensation to the families of the dead and help people rebuild storm-ravaged houses. “This is unfortunate. But we do not have control over natural calamities,” she said.

News agency PTI reported from Amaravati that nine people died due to lightning and three were injured in Srikakulam and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh. Officials said seven people were killed in Srikakulam district alone.

Lightning struck several places in Srikakulam since afternoon even as rain, coupled with strong gale-force winds, lashed the district. Rain was also reported from Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), thunderstorms also occurred at isolated places in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtara, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Strong winds swept through Haryana as the weather changed suddenly and light rain lashed several areas, a meteorological department official said in Chandigarh. Several parts of Punjab also got light rain.

The IMD predicted that the hill states of Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are likely to get thunderstorms on Monday, while parts of Rajasthan might see a dust storm. The subsequent effect on the plains of northern India is also predicted.

Weather forecast said thunderstorms and squall with wind speed reaching up to 70kmph were likely at isolated places over eastern UP, the Northeast, West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand. Gusty winds were likely in Punjab, Haryana, western UP, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Telangana, north coastal Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and Kerala.