Here's what caused yesterday's 'freak' dust-storms in north, west India
Yesterday evening brought sudden dust storms across different states in north and west India. More than 100 people were killed and several others injured in UP, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and MP. According to IMD, it was a result of several factors, including "a western disturbance-induced cyclonic circulation, high moisture brought by easterly winds, and the recent spell of unusually high temperatures."
Yesterday, two major patches of storm clouds were formed; while one originated over western Haryana, the other was over north Rajasthan, reports HT. The former was less intense, and ended up bringing rainfall and cooler weather to Delhi and Haryana. It gradually weakened over North Delhi.
The second cloud cluster was boosted due to recent high temperatures, which facilitate greater moisture retention and thus formation of deeper storm clouds. As it moved east, it was continuously reinvigorated by moisture travelling as far as eastern UP. "Even if (high temperatures) don't drive storms, they'll aggravate the situation by causing the atmosphere to become unstable," explained Roxy Mathew Koll, climate scientist.
Dust storms are common in north India this time, but yesterday's loss of life is highly unusual. Many victims were sleeping when intense bursts of lightning hit, destroying houses. Falling trees, poles and walls killed several people across states. The death toll crossed 70 in UP, 35 in Rajasthan and four in Uttarakhand. At least 160 animals were also killed in UP, officials said.
Saddened by the loss of lives due to dust storms in various parts of India. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) May 3, 2018
Have asked officials to coordinate with the respective state governments and work towards assisting those who have been affected: PM
Hemant Kumar Gera, Secretary, Disaster Management and Relief, has announced compensation of up to Rs. 4L for victims. UP CM Yogi Adityanath has also declared aid of up to Rs. 4L. A met official has warned that another dust storm may hit parts of Rajasthan and UP in the next 48 hours due to cyclonic circulation formation in the region.