Lightning and hailstorms claim 45 lives across India, death toll rises to at least 250

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Severe storms that hit several Indian states on Monday and Tuesday, May 28 and 29, 2018, claimed at least 45 lives, officials said. The storms are just the latest in a series of unusually strong storms in India this year. The death toll since the start of the month has now reached at least 250. More than 440 people were injured.

18 people were killed and at least 12 injured in the state of Bihar where several houses were damaged and trees uprooted, trapping people.

In the neighboring state of Jharkhand, 12 people were killed and at least 28 injured due to lightning. 

15 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh and more than 12 injured in storm, rain and lightning-related incidents, Xinhua reports.

The power supply was disrupted in many locations after storms downed trees and power poles.

Officials added that hailstorm and rains destroyed many crops, including Mango, Litchi and Banana.

A streak of unusually intense thunderstorms, dust storms and lightning swept through India since May 2, claiming lives of nearly 250 people and causing huge material damage.

While dust storms and thunderstorms are common in the country at this time, the intensity appears to be anomalous, NASA’s Earth Observatory reports.

The state of Andhra Pradesh in the country’s southeast was struck by about 40 000 lightning bolts in just 13 hours late April 2018. That’s more than the number of strikes that occurred in the entire month of May 2017.

On May 2, 2018, a cluster of strong thunderstorms, accompanied by strong winds and lightning, swept through the Rajasthan region in the north, knocking over large structures and harming those in the way. The potent thunderstorms whipped up one of the deadliest dust storms in decades.

One week later, the same region was hit by more deadly thunderstorms that produced lightning, 110 km/h (65 mph) winds, and violent dust storms, bringing the death toll to over 200.

Featured image credit: Ryan Kartzke

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