Devastating gusty winds claim lives of four family members in Kashmir

Hailstorm and Gusty Winds ravage Kashmir, Resulting in Loss of Lives, Crop Damage, and Destruction of Property

Residential house, vehicles damaged, many trees uprooted; Hailstorm causes extensive damage to crops, rains lash plains; MeT predicts more rains till May 30

Srinagar- Gusty winds coupled with rains and hailstorm at many places in the valley on Thursday afternoon left at least four people dead and caused considerable damage to buildings and crops. The winds also affected the electricity supply in several areas of the Valley.

Four members of a tribal nomadic family died in Kishtwar district on Thursday morning when a pine tree fell on their tent due to gusty winds. The incident took place in the Bhalna forest area of Keshwan belt, officials said, adding that high-speed winds and heavy rainfall uprooted the big tree. “A pine tree fell on a tent pitched by the nomadic family in the forest belt. In this tragic incident, four family members lost their lives early today,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Kishtwar, Khalil Poswal told PTI.

The family was going towards Dachan with its sheep and goats, and had halted in Bhalna forest due to heavy rains, they said.

Deputy Commissioner, Kishtwar, Devansh Yadav said four people, including three women, died on the spot. “A police team immediately rushed to the spot and started a rescue operation,” Yadav said, adding that the bodies are being taken to a hospital for legal formalities.

In the Kashmir valley rains continued to lash plains bringing down the temperature further. Normal life got disrupted due to the moderate rainfall this afternoon while several areas of Srinagar and other districts witnessed gusty winds too, which led to the damage to the vehicles and a residential house as well.

A residential house belonging to Muhammad Iqbal Sheikh of the Pinglish area of Tral got damaged after a walnut tree fell on it. The family had a narrow escape, but the residential house got damaged in the incident, locals said. Reports said that hailstorm and gusty winds wrecked havoc in several areas, causing extensive damage to the crops and properties of the people. A walnut tree also fell on a vehicle in Burdoo area of Pahalgam in which a vehicle suffered damage.

The hailstorm was recorded in several areas in north Kashmir including Khamoh, Rafiabad, Wagoora, Kreeri, Ladoora, area of Baramulla, Haihama, Gutlipora, Kralpora, Trehgam, Sogam, Drugmulla, Salkoot and other areas in Kupwara. A few districts including Kulgam in South Kashmir also witnessed hailstorm this afternoon.

Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation Limited (KPDCL), Chief Engineer, Javed Yousuf Dar said that there was no major breakdown in the electricity due to the inclement weather conditions. However, he said that some of the places witnessed damage after tree branches fell on the power lines, adding that the electricity was being restored. “The men and machinery have been pressed into service and the electricity will be restored at earliest,” he said. Electricity was restored in most of the places after a two to three hour breakdown, reports said.

Meanwhile the weatherman here has predicted intermittent light to moderate rainfall at most places of Kashmir in next 24 hours. Director Meteorological department (MeT), Sonum Lotus said that there is a possibility of intermittent light to moderate rain, thunderstorm at most places of Kashmir, mainly in north and central Kashmir.

The weather is expected to remain the same on Friday, he said, adding that on May 27, the weather would remain partly to generally cloudy. He further said that the rains and thunderstorm is expected again at scattered places between May 28-May 30

Appealing people to stay indoors during the lightening, the MeT director further advised people to avoid venturing near sloppy Nallahs as thunder shower often generate localized flash flood, water logging etc.

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