53 killed by lightning, thunderstorms in one night across four States


Hail, wind and thunderstorms brought down walls, trees and power pylons in Uttar Pradesh state, killing 48 people, T. P. Gupta of the state disaster management department told AFP. The toll for injured persons has gone up to 83 persons in the state, an official told PTI. As per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the storm killed as many as 53 people, including 39 in Uttar Pradesh, nine in Andhra Pradesh, four in West Bengal and one in Delhi. Wind speeds were around 109 km/h (67mph) accompanied by thunder and lightning, officials said.

Five people were killed in New Delhi and the surrounding region, largely due to falling trees, authorities said. All four states remain on high alert as officials warn of more thunderstorms over the next few days.

Trains and commuter rail lines were paused and dozens of flights were diverted from New Delhi's worldwide airport as the storm blew into the city, turning the sky brown with dust and sand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter that he "prayed" for the speedy recovery of those who were injured and he asked officials to provide assistance.

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Thunderstorms claimed 14 lives in West Bengal while 12 weather-related deaths were reported from Andhra Pradesh, two in Delhi and one in Uttarakhand. They said 121 houses were damaged in various parts of the state in last night's storm that affected 25 districts. Five people were killed in Bareilly and Barabanki districts of UP, while 13 animals died in the storms.

Hail and rain storms killed more than 78 people in northern and western India at the beginning of this month.