Five deaths in Krishna district; considerable damage to horticulture crops

The thunderstorm and rain that lashed Krishna district on Wednesday evening resulted in five deaths, including three in the city, and considerable damage to horticulture crops, especially mango, in the upland areas.

Boyina Venkateswara Rao and Vaddi Krishna, both in the age group of 55-60 years and residents of Gulabi road of Ramalingeswara Nagar, were on their way to the nearby haystack when heavy gales and downpour started. They stopped near an old godown to take shelter. The compound wall of the godown collapsed and both of them were buried under the debris.

In another incident, 24-year-old K. Prabhavathi of Vidyadharapuram hill area died on the spot when the asbestos sheet of her neighbour's house that got uprooted due to the gales landed on her when she was busy in domestic chores in the front yard of her house.

At Punadipadu on the city outskirts, lightning hit 14-year-old T. Ajay, who was returning home from farm fields on a tractor. Four other labourers, who were travelling on the same tractor escaped, with injuries. Another death, also due to lightning, was reported from Ganugapadu in Tiruvuru mandal.

Power supply disrupted

The sudden change in weather threw life in the city out of gear, though it did bring some much-needed relief from the sweltering heat. The disruption to power supply lasted almost till midnight, as the Discom authorities said they were restoring supply in a phased manner after replacing the damaged conductors.

During the day the city was believed to have registered a maximum temperature of about 42 degree Celsius, though the Met department showed the maximum temperature as 38.7, but by evening there was a sudden formation of dark clouds and thunderstorm.

The strong dusty winds resulted in uprooting of hoardings, electric poles and trees, besides damaging the parked vehicles at several places. Anxious parents made frantic calls to their children, who were returning from coaching classes.

The revellers at the ongoing industrial and agricultural exhibition at Swaraj Maidan were taken by surprise by the sudden change in the weather. Parents and children scurried for cover. However, there were no reports of any major damage here. Die-hard cricket lovers, who were keen on watching the first semi-finals between Mumbai Indians and Bangalore's Royal Challengers of the Indian Premier League, were disappointed because of the power shutdown.

Reports reaching here indicated that the mango orchards waiting to be harvested suffered damage mainly in Gampalagudem, Reddygudem, A. Konduru and Mylavaram, while commercial crops like chilly suffered damage in Nandigama and Kanchikacherla. Horticulture Assistant Director Balaji Naik, when contacted, said preliminary reports indicated that there was only fruit dropping without much damage to the trees.

Trees uprooted

Guntur Special Correspondent writes:

Temperatures soared to above 42 degrees in Guntur district for the past one week, but heavy gales combined with showers gave much-needed relief to the residents in all parts of Guntur district. A brand new van came under a tree that got uprooted on the Lakshmipuram main road in the city.

The gales, however, uprooted several power polls in Guntur city, Piduguralla, Dachepalli and other places leading to power shutdown for about an hour. The conductors in six areas in Guntur, two in Tenali and a couple in Dachepalli and Piduguralla were cut, which disrupted the power supply.

Supply was restored in majority of the areas within an hour, but in Dachepalli and Papayapalem areas staff were wrorking till late into night to restore power, Superintendent Engineer SPDL K. Rajabapaih said.

Power lines had to be removed and the tree cut to let the van go, which sustained some damage, but none was injured.

A crane removed the trees in all localities. The temperatures went down drastically by evening, but not before a dust storm that engulfed entire Guntur city. At Perecherla, where a number of crushers were there, the situation was worst with vehicular traffic on the State Highways coming to a standstill towards Kurnool and Hyderabad.

Keywords: thunderstormdeath

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