A massive sandstorm hit border districts in Rajasthan on Monday evening even as the India Meteorological Department issued an alert forecasting that several parts of north India could witness thunderstorm and squall on Tuesday with winds gusting up to 50-70 km per hour.
Visuals showed a sandstorm approaching Khajuwala town in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district. Several states were put on alert as the storm hit Rajasthan.
The high-speed sandstorm crippled normal life in border districts of Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Bikaner as weather turned aggressive between 6 pm and 7 pm due to western disturbance and upper air cyclonic system.
It entered the state from neighbouring country via Khajuwala, Sri Ganganagar, Hanumangarh and Bikaner and is likely to move towards Churu and Jodhpur, a state Met official said.
The India-Pakistan international border was overcast with dark black sand particles suspended in atmosphere, reducing the visibility to zero.
This was followed by thundershowers, bringing respite to people from blistering heat in the three districts.
There was no report of any human or livestock loss so far. The state government has made elaborate security arrangements and taken measures to meet any eventuality in storm-prone districts.
In a storm last week, 35 people were killed and 251 were injured in Alwar, Bharatpur, Dholpur and Jhunjhunu districts.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government has ordered closure of all evening schools (second shift) on Tuesday in the wake of IMD warning about thunderstorm.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary Anshu Prakash to review prepardness in the wake of the warning.
Earlier in the day, the IMD issued an amber-coloured alert, indicating severe weather, for parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, western Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal. Several parts of these states could witness thunderstorm and squall with winds gusting up to 50-70 km per hour, the alert said.
There are four types of colour codes signifying the level of caution — green (which means no action), yellow (situation to be watched), amber (government agencies to be prepared for severe weather) and red (action needed by the agencies).
A western disturbance runs over Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, while there is a cyclonic circulation over northeast Rajasthan, west Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, and this will bring light to moderate rainfall in north India, Mritunjay Mohapatra, Additional Director General, IMD, said.
He, however, said, the intensity is expected to be less in comparison to the thunderstorm that occurred on May 2.
A deadly thunderstorm with winds gusting up to 100 kmph had hit Rajasthan and west Uttar Pradesh on May 2, killing over 100 people.
Thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds very likely at isolated places over Punjab, Assam , Meghalaya , Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, west Madhya Pradesh, east Uttar Pradesh, east Rajasthan, coastal and south interior Karnataka and Kerela, the IMD said in its alert today.
A yellow coloured alert has been issued for these states.
Thunderstorm accompanied with squall (wind speed reaching 50-70 kmph) are very likely at isolated places over Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, it said. Heat wave conditions were also likely at one or two pockets over Vidarbha in Maharashtra, the alert said. — With agency inputs