Delhi weather: A dust storm struck Delhi at around 5 pm on Sunday evening.
New Delhi: At least 40 people were killed across the country on Sunday as thunderstorms and rain swept north, east and south India. Violent dust storms, followed by rain and lightning toppled walls and uprooted trees. Eighteen people were killed in Uttar Pradesh. Eight died in Andhra Pradesh and three in Telangana, officials told NDTV. According to reports, nine people were also killed in West Bengal and five in Delhi NCR due to the storm. The weather office has said thunderstorms are expected across north-west India over the next 48 to 72 hours, as several weather phenomena, including western disturbances, converge.
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The Met office has predicted thunderstorms accompanied by light rains for a huge swathe of northern India over the next two to three days. An orange category warning -- which means the weather can significantly impact the lives of people -- has been issued for the hilly areas in the north, the northeast and Odisha.
Uttar Pradesh saw the highest number of deaths at 18. Nearly 100 houses were gutted in a fire which broke out due to lightning in UP's Sambalpur. At least eight people were killed in Andhra Pradesh, mostly in the Srikakulam district. Three farmers died in Telangana, officials said.
Delhi Metro services were hampered too. Thousands of commuters were stuck on the busy Blue Line, which links Dwarka in north-west Delhi to Noida and Vaishali in Uttar Pradesh, for almost 45 minutes. The trains were then slowed down as a precaution.
Around 5 in the evening, skies turned inky and visibility plummeted across the National Capital Region. A strong wind picked up, crashing through trees and turning the air a murky brown. The drizzle started soon after. The rains and storm brought down trees and tree branches in some areas of Delhi and led to traffic snarls.
The Met office said the storm was a result of western disturbances over Jammu and Kashmir and cyclonic circulation over Haryana. An east-west trough from Haryana to Nagaland and easterly winds from Bay of Bengal are raising wind speed.
"Saddened by the loss of lives due to storms in some parts of the country... asked officials to provide all possible assistance to those affected," Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.