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27 Apr 2018

Unseasonal lightning strikes kill 9 in Andhra Pradesh

The unseasonal lightning strikes in Andhra Pradesh have killed nine people, including a nine-year-old girl, since Tuesday.

The coastal state recorded unusually high - 36,749 - lightning strikes within 13 hours on Tuesday, reports the BBC.

The local disaster management body has blamed it on "extreme weather patterns."

In 2017, Andhra had 30,000 lighting strikes in the entire month of May.

Here's more.

In context

Lightning kills 9 in Andhra Pradesh


Rough sea warning issued, fishermen asked to stay indoors

The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services has issued a rough sea warning, advising fishermen to stay indoors.

It also warned about high tide and 'swell waves' as tall as 2-2.2 metres because of a pressure system in Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal.

Visakhapatnam's Cyclone Warning Centre, meanwhile, informed on Wednesday of a thunderstorm and gusty winds at isolated places across Andhra.


Does Andhra Pradesh always experience such heavy lightning?

Andhra usually experiences increased lightning activity before monsoon, which typically lasts between June and September.

However, this year, cold winds from the Arabian sea have collided with Northern India's warmer winds, creating a cloud cover of over 200km, significantly increasing the chance of lightning strikes, reports the BBC.

Usually the cloud cover is in patches of 15-16km, which makes Andhra's current situation unusually rare.

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93 lightning deaths in four states within one month


93 lightning deaths in four states within one month

According to the NCRB, at least 2,000 people have been dying each year in India because of lightning strikes since 2005.

Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh accounted for 93 lightning deaths and over 20 severe injuries in June 2016 alone.

Lightening deaths are unusually high in India largely because of unreliable warning systems and large number of people working outdoors.

Safety tips

What should you do if ever in danger?

As per the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents:

-Try to get into a large building/car

-Get away from wide/open spaces, exposed hilltops

-If you have nowhere to go, make yourself a small target. Crouch down with your feet together, hands on knees and head in

-Never shelter under tall/isolated trees

-If on water, get to the shore and immediately off the beach

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