42 killed in Uttar Pradesh storms, rains cool north India

Last Updated: Sat, May 21, 2011 17:20 hrs

New Delhi, May 21 (IANS) At least 42 people were killed and 50 others injured in thunderstorms and lightning that struck various parts of Uttar Pradesh early Saturday morning as light rains and cool breeze across most Indian states brought down temperature, India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said.

High-speed winds lashed parts of eastern and central Uttar Pradesh around 5 a.m., uprooting trees and lamp-posts and knocking down hoardings, besides crushing thatched homes in villages. In some places, the storms were followed by a brief but heavy downpour.

According to an official spokesman, Shahjahanpur district was the worst affected with as many as 16 deaths, followed by Lakhimpur-Kheri with 11, Budaun with nine, Ambedkarnagar four and Bareilly two.

According to officials, the fairly widespread rainfall in Punjab, Haryana and Delhi saw the mercury slide by a few notches and made the day pleasant.

Pilani in Rajasthan, Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, many places in Haryana and Chandigarh experienced temperatures ranging between 40 and 15 degrees Celsius.

'Rajasthan, which continued to reel under a heat wave, recorded 37.5 degrees Celsius Saturday at Pilani, which was seven notches below average for this time of the season,' an IMD official said.

After days of soaring temperatures, the national capital also experienced a pleasant and breezy Saturday as the maximum temperature came down to 32.4 degrees Celsius, seven notches below the average.

'There is a possibility of a squall or light rain tomorrow (Sunday). The maximum and minimum temperatures Sunday are likely to be around 35 and 23 degrees Celsius, respectively,' IMD official said.

Delhiites made the most of Saturday's pleasant weather. 'Finally it rained. It is certainly a respite from the heat and sweaty days of plus 40 degrees Celcius temperature since the last one week,' said Jayshri Matharu, a resident of Rohini in north Delhi, who came to India Gate to enjoy with her husband and children.

'I hope this stays for another two-three days,' Matharu added.

The weatherman said that Chandigarh, the joint capital of Punjab and Haryana, received 13.9 mm rain in the early hours of Saturday and the mercury slided down a few notches. After the rains, cool breeze and an overcast sky made the weather pleasant in many places.

'Isolated spells of rain can also occur in most parts of Punjab and Haryana in the next 24 hours,' an IMD official added.

In Himachal Pradesh, the capital city of Shimla recorded a maximum temperature of 27 degrees Celsius and the minimum of 15.7 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar was cool and pleasant as the maximum temperature hovered around 26.3 degrees Celsius and the minimum temperature was 15.8 degrees Celsius.