New Delhi: Strong winds hit Delhi half-an-hour before midnight on May 7, a harbinger of the formidable thunderstorm that is expected to hit the national capital region at dawn.
By 11 pm on April 7, Gurgaon had started experiencing strong winds, with videos posted online by residents showing trees swaying violently in the dark. Following warnings from the met department, schools have declared holiday in the afternoon and the police are on alert.
Delhi Metro has said it will exercise extreme caution in case wind speed exceeds 90 km. The bad weather is expected to extend across 20 states, which are on alert following last week’s dust storm, which claimed more than 120 lives across five states.
Chandigarh is witnessing heavy showers. In Uttarakhand’s Chamoli, two pilgrims were injured as heavy rains accompanied by high-speed winds blew away rooftops and uprooted trees.
The Delhi government has ordered all afternoon schools to remain closed April 8 as precautionary measures. Search and rescue teams have been put on standby in every district of Delhi. The Delhi police, who are also on alert, have asked people not to venture out without checking storm warnings.
The Delhi Metro has decided to exercise extreme caution while running trains. “If the wind speed is reported to be above 90 km per hour, trains will be put on hold at platforms. No train will enter platforms with a speed of more than 15 kmph,” news agency Press Trust of India quoted a metro official as saying.
Schools in neighboring Haryana have been closed till tomorrow following storm warnings. The Haryana government has cancelled leave of all municipal officials in view of the met department’s forecast. The fire department and other emergency services, too, have been asked to stay on alert.
The met department has issued warnings about thunderstorms and squalls across 20 states: Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Sikkim, Odisha, Telangana, north Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The wind speed in these states is likely to remain between 50 and 70 km per hour, the met department said.
Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand are likely to experience hail storm. Dust storm is likely in parts of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh tomorrow.
The bad weather in most states is likely to extend till May 9.
Last week, at least 120 people were killed and more than 300 others injured across five states due to dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning.
The met department, however, said the impact of the storm this time will be less than that of last week.