Storm alert for 15 states/UTs: How to keep yourself safe
Unexpectedly-intense dust storms and thunderstorms killed as many as 124 people in Northern India last week. The MET department says such weather is likely to continue till tomorrow in 15 states and union territories in India, which are now facing a storm alert. You can employ these tips before, during and after thunderstorms to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Which states are in danger?
Alerts for thunderstorm, hail or squall have been issued for various places in Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, HP, J&K, Karnataka, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Sikkim, TN, Tripura, UP, Uttarakhand and West Bengal. In Rajasthan, dusts-storms are expected to disrupt normal life.
Things to do before the storm hits
Firstly, make an emergency kit, which includes flashlight/torch, first-aid supplies, medicines, food and water, and some cash and ATM card. Before leaving home, check the weather forecast. Remove tree branches that could fall during a storm, and secure things that can blow away. Keep electronic devices unplugged as far as possible. Plan a safe place for family members to gather when the storm breaks.
Watch out for these during the storm
Avoid small shells and isolated trees, and take cover under a sturdy building, a hard-top automobile or a group of short trees. If flooding is possible, get to higher ground. Avoid driving. If inside home, don't use electrical appliances unless absolutely necessary. Close the blinds on windows and doors. Don't use the plumbing system: no baths, no washing utensils or clothes.
The dangers of lightning are real, even in India
A prime killer during thunderstorms is lightning, and it happens much more frequently than people believe. In June'16, a whopping 120 people died in lightning strikes across the country in just two days. In fact, according to EPW, 1,755 people die from lightning strikes every year, the highest toll among deaths caused by flood, landslide, heat strokes and cold waves.
Here's how to save yourself from lightning
If, during a storm, you feel your hair stand on end (sign of electrical charges running across your body), drop into a tuck position immediately to make yourself the smallest target possible. Squat low to the ground, place your hands on the knees and tuck your head between them. Minimize contact with the ground. Don't be afraid to touch someone who's been struck.