The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a warning of thunderstorm escort with squall and hail in large parts of northern and eastern India tomorrow, prompting authorities to put in place various emergency measures such as part-closure of schools and cancelling leave of civic officials.
The IMD said, thunderstorm, accompanied by squall and hail, was very likely at isolated places over Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand tomorrow.
Thunderstorm, accompanied with squall, is also very likely at isolated places over Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim.
At some places, the wind speed may go up to 50-70 kilometers per hour, it said.
At least 124 people were killed and more than 300 others injured in five states due to dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning last week.
Following the IMD warning, the Delhi government decided to close all evening schools tomorrow, and put search and rescue teams on standby.
“All evening schools will remain closed tomorrow following the weather warning,” a senior government official told PTI.
There are around 400 evening schools running in the national capital. The government has also asked other schools not to hold outdoor activities and extracurricular activities between 3 pm and 7 pm during which the wind speed is expected to remain high.
The government also issued a list of “dos and don’ts” to deal with any such possible situation.
The traffic police has asked commuters to check weather conditions before travelling while the Delhi Metro too has decided to exercise extreme caution in running of trains in the wake of the warning.
The revenue department of the Delhi government has issued directions to all district officers and said water and power utilities would also keep restoration teams ready .
The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which operates trains in the national capital and NCR, said it would exercise extreme caution in running of trains.
“If wind speed is reported in the range of 70-90 kmph then train movement will remain normal but trains will enter with a restricted speed of 40 kmph or less at the platforms on elevated section.
“If wind speed is reported more than 90 kmph then trains will be put on hold at platforms and no train will enter platform with a speed of more than 15 kmph,” a senior DMRC official told PTI.
At the same time, the Delhi Traffic Police has advised commuters to plan their journey after checking the weather conditions.
The Delhi Traffic Police’s advisory states that it has alerted the field formations to be ready to get obstacles such as fallen trees removed.
The advisory has asked commuters to avoid travelling during the storm.
Dust storms hit Chandigarh and parts of Punjab and Haryana this evening with many residents preferring to stay indoors in view of the IMD’s forecast of thunderstorm and squall tomorrow in several parts of north India.
There were reports of power supply getting disrupted at some places in the states.
In view of the IMD issuing an alert forecasting thunderstorm and squall tomorrow in several parts of north India, the Haryana government cancelled the leaves of all officials in civic bodies across the state. Fire and other emergency services, too, have been directed to remain alert.
Severe dust-storm was reported from Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu, Sikar.
Electricity distribution and transmission system in Rajasthan sustained heavy damage owing to the strong storm which lashed the state on Wednesday night.
There is a condition of blackout in many towns and villages. Owing to storm and rains, around 1,500 feeders in the state were damaged, confirmed State Power Minister Pushpendra Singh Ranawat on Thursday.
Many poles, wires and distribution transformers have been damaged and the overall loss has been estimated to the tune of Rs 40-50 crore, he added.
Ranawat confirmed that 4,200 poles, 395 transformers and 375 feeders have been damaged in Bharatpur.
Similarly, in Alwar, 7,500 transformers and 1,011 feeders have been damaged. Dhaulpur witnessed damage to 1,000 poles, 75 transformers and 138 feeders.
Efforts are on to restore power supply in these places and arrangements are being made for 13,000 poles along with transformers and other material.
According to the IMD, thunderstorm, accompanied with gusty winds, is very likely at isolated places over Punjab, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura, Bihar, western Madhya Pradesh, east Uttar Pradesh and East Rajasthan, Coastal and South Interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Heavy rains were very likely at isolated places over Tamil Nadu, south interior Karnataka and Kerala.