Yesterday’s Dust Storm and Lightning strikes proved that nothing can stand in front of Nature’s Fury. The harrowing experience left the four states – Rajasthan, UP, West Bengal and Odisha with rubbles of downed trees and electrical lines. The death toll reached 124 as we write this on 5th of May, 2018.
A fresh warning by IMD (Indian Meteorological Department) suggests the trouble is not over yet. There is a possibility of another dust storm and thunderstrike with squall in the next 48 hours.
The destruction that nature’s fury left behind was caused by a western disturbance-induced cyclonic circulation, high moisture brought by easterly winds and the recent spell of unusually high temperatures. Due to the summer, several parts of the country experience a build-up of surface heat. The places which were hit by this dust storm had witnessed an intense heat-wave last week. According to Dr Mrutunjay Mohapatra of India Meteorological Department, the natural phenomenon arises out of a local “instability” arising out of a deviation from the normal temperature. The difference of temperature between the upper and lower layers of atmosphere leads to conducive conditions for a thunderstorm. The Indian Express reported that the final trigger came from the circulation system that developed over Rajasthan a couple of days ago.
This is what caused the “freak accident” as described by a Met Official:
Courtesy: Hindustan Times
Oizom is continuously measuring the data from the network of the Environmental Sensors deployed pan-India. Having huge data acquisition network of real-time environmental monitors, Oizom has developed an Environmental.AI platform. By interpolating the data from these sensors we are able to generate the hyperlocal Pollution heatmap of India. Oizom team quickly responded to the accident and created the heatmap of the deadly event as below:
This above image shows how the Western Disturbance, a low-pressure system carrying the Eurasian water bodies’ moisture ended up as thunderstorm due to the unusually high temperature in Rajasthan.
Dust storm has caused more deaths in the past although lightning seems to be the main destroyer. But Wednesday’s dust storm was unique in the sense that events occurred over a large geographical area within a very short amount of time. That’s why an early warning or accurate prediction has become crucial.