A staggering 61,000 lightning strikes in nearly two hours sent shockwaves in the state of Odisha, which killed atleast 12 people and 14 were reported injured, said the Special Relief Commissioner’s (SRC) office on Sunday.
A post shared on X by the SRC office also confirmed the news of eight cattle fatalities occurring across the state due to intense thunder and lightning.
“Extreme thunderstorm and lightning activities across Odisha on September 2. 12 people died, 14 were injured, and 8 were cattle casualties,” the post on X read. The department also confirmed that an ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh will be paid to the families of the victims. And in the case of cattle deaths, assistance would be extended as admissible, said the Special Relief Commissioner’s office.
Weather scientists said these unusual and extreme lightning activities occur when the monsoon returns to normalcy after a long break. Collision of cold and warm air masses creates the perfect conditions for such unprecedented lightning events, they said.
Weather experts explained that such unusual and extreme lightning events are a result of the monsoon returning to its normal state after an extended hiatus. The collision between cold and warm air masses creates the ideal conditions for these unprecedented lightning occurrences, they said.
Sharing this information on X, the SRC office further disclosed that the highest number of fatalities were reported in the Khurdha district, with four casualties, while Bolangir recorded two deaths. One fatality each was reported in Angul, Boudh, Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Jagatsinghpur, and Puri districts on Sunday.
Coastal areas of Odisha, including the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, witnessed heavy downpours and lightning strikes. The lightning activity persisted during afternoon thundershower events in Bhubaneswar and its vicinity.
Meanwhile, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) announced on Sunday that a cyclonic circulation is active over the North Bay of Bengal, with the likelihood of a low-pressure area forming in the next two days. The Met Department issued an alert, predicting enhanced activity in several parts of Odisha over the next two days, with heavy to very heavy rainfall expected in some districts of the state until September 7.