At least 15 people died as thunderstorms hit Bihar on Tuesday. Principal Secretary (disaster management) Pratyaya Amrit confirmed the deaths. “Two persons each died in Aurangabad, Lakhisarai, Madhubani and Begusarai districts, while one death each was reported from Patna, Nalanda, Purnia, Darbhanga, Supaul, Araria and Munger,” he told Hindustan Times.
District magistrates of the affected areas have sanctioned Rs 4 lakh each as compensation to the families of those who died. Special Secretary Anirudh Kumar said eight people died in lightning strikes while wall collapses and falling trees claimed seven lives.
The thundersquall hit at 5.43 am and lasted for two minutes, according to the Indian Meteorological Department. It was accompanied with showers and lightning. Patna witnessed heavy rainfall for 30 minutes, resulting in waterlogging in certain areas. “The thundersquall (when wind velocity is above 16 knotts per hour and lasts a minimum of two seconds), followed by thunderstorm (wind velocity less than 16 knotts per hour), was due to convective clouds and upper air cyclonic circulation over Bihar. It is expected to last another two days,” Met director Sumendu Sengupta told Hindustan Times.
Vehicular traffic was also affected as the thundersquall led to a pontoon bridge collapsing in Danapur. The bridge connects Patna with north Bihar. Electric poles, overhead wires and hoardings were also damaged, and flights and trains services were affected as visibility was down to 500 metres.
Power outages were reported from across the state. General Manager of Patna Electricity Supply Undertaking Dilip Kumar said that most of the 175 feeders in Patna were damaged because of trees or branches falling on them. However, they were able to restore 167 feeders by 8 am.
However, the thundersquall brought relief from the scorching heat. The average morning temperature dropped seven degrees on Tuesday. “The temperature in Patna dropped from 41 degree Celsius to 28 degree Celsius,” a weather official told Deccan Herald.