Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh may witness dust storm, thundershowers, predicts IMD

77 killed as powerful dust storms ravage north India

Worryingly, the IMD says satellite images are showing wind pressure developing over Rajasthan, which could result in another dust storm with gale-force winds lashing the western state.

More than 127 people were killed after a storm barrelled through a swathe of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, in a trail of destruction that brought down mud houses, uprooted trees and flattened crops on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.

While 62 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh - with 43 of them in the Taj city Agra alone - another 31 died in Rajasthan's Alwar, Dholpur and Bharatpur districts, officials said.

Similar storms kill hundreds of people each year in India, but these were some of the most severe in recent decades.

About 100 people were injured in the state, reports quoted officials a saying. The worst period lasted about 45 minutes, according to reports from Dholpur in Rajasthan. But the extent of the damage was known only Thursday morning. "Distressed after storm in Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur", she tweeted. A Met official told PTI in Jaipur that his department had been issuing dust storm warnings for the past couple of days.

The majority of the deaths were in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, in the north.

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Weather department officials stated that the downpour and cloudburst are expected to continue for another 48 hours particularly in the hilly regions, including, Chamoli, Uttarkashi, Rudraprayag and Pithoragarh districts.

Heavy rain and high winds knocked down electricity poles and trees, blocked roads and disrupted power supplies in the worst affected areas. Officials said power was being gradually restored. Forty-three people died there as the wind speed touched 130 kilometers per hour, said Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar of Uttar Pradesh state. Reports said the wall of an educational institution collapsed, killing 23 persons and injuring 21. In Rajasthan, 39 people were killed while Telangana reported seven deaths, Uttarakhand four, and Jharkhand and Punjab two each. In Rajasthan, about 250 animals perished.

Power supply was cut in many parts of Rajasthan as thousands of electricity pylons were destroyed.

Hemant Gera, head of Rajasthan's Disaster Management and Relief Department, said emergency services were on alert and that people should not sleep outdoors.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed sorrow over the deaths and directed officials to coordinate with the states to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation. "Saddened by the loss of lives due to duststorms in various parts of India". Condolences to the bereaved families.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was in poll-bound Karnataka on Thursday, campaigning with Mr Modi. The state government has announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of the victims, Rs 2 lakh to those sustaining 60 percent injuries and Rs 60,000 to those with 40-50 percent injuries, said Business Standard.

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