Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: Eighty-nine people were killed in the high-velocity thunderstorm that ripped across Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.

The deaths came as winds blew at 80 km an hour uprooting trees and triggering wall collapse and lightning ignited fires. The thunderstorm caused a blackout in several parts of the State as power lines snapped. Trains services were also affected.

Power and rail services resumed late on Wednesday night. The special secretary in the State Home Department, Dilip Kumar Gupta, told newspersons here on Thursday that the maximum casualties were reported from Kannauj district, where 14 persons, including four women and nine children, died.

Etawah and Firozabad districts reported nine deaths each, while Kanpur Dehat, Etah and Mathura accounted for nine, eight and seven deaths respectively.

Among those killed in Mathura were five belonging to the neighbouring Mahamaya Nagar district. They were struck by lightning at Dhandesa village.

According to the Home Department spokesman, the impact of the storm was felt more in central Uttar Pradesh with casualties being reported from Unnao, Farrukhabad, Jalaun, Auraiya, Sitapur and Lakhimpur Kheri districts also. He said Rs.1 lakh has been given to the next of kin of the deceased, the money being distributed from the Central Relief Fund.

The thunderstorm was the result of a cyclonic circulation, which originated over Rajasthan and travelled across to Uttar Pradesh via Delhi. According to the Meteorological Department in Lucknow, a series of cyclonic circulations have been noticed since the beginning of May.

The weather phenomenon is likely to continue for the next few days.

Forecast for the next 24 hours points to the possibility of dust storm accompanied by light rainfall in different parts of the State.

Mango belt affected

The mango belt of Malihabad, Kakori, Mal, Rahimabad and Sarojininagar in Lucknow too bore the brunt of the storm. Mango-growers were left counting their losses.