Monstrous Dust Storm on the Way: What to Do When Winds Howl with Thunder & Lightning

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What to Do When Winds Howl with Thunder & Lightning

Delhi Govt issues guidelines on how to deal with monstrous dust storms, winds, thunder and lightning.

Another monstrous dust storm with howling winds at 70 kilometres per hour is likely to hit New Delhi and neighbouring states in the course of the day today. The Indian Meteorological Department has forecast high velocity winds, rain and possible thunder and lightning for Tuesday as well. The states that may be affected according to the IMD are parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Chandigarh, western Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and West Bengal.

What to Do When Winds Howl with Thunder & LightningFollowing the IMD warning, the Delhi government issued a list of “dos and don’ts” on how to deal with the storm.

The advisory is divided into sections.

PREPAREDNESS

  • Look for darkening skies and increased wind. If you hear thunder then you are close enough to be struck by lightning
  • Prepare an emergency kit for safety and survival
  • Close windows and doors
  • Secure your house, carry out repairs in advance, don’t leave sharp objects loose
  • Secure outside objects that could blow away and cause damage, eg: Furniture, bins, etc
  • Get rid of rotting trunks/broken tree branches that could fall and cause injury or damage
  • Monitor radio, TV, newspapers to get latest weather updates and warnings
  • Ensure children and pets are indoors

DURING THE STORM

  • Continue to keep a watch on local weather updates and warnings
  • Stay indoors and off verandas and porches. Avoid all travel if possible
  • Unplug unnecessary electrical equipment (to isolate them from the main power supply which may conduct a power surge during a lightning storm). Don’t use corded telephones. Mobiles or cordless phones are safe
  • Avoid touching plumbing and electrical pipes. Do not use running water. Avoid taking a bath/shower. This is because lightning can travel along pipes
  • Stay away from structures with tin roofs/metal sheeting
  • Keep away from doors, windows, fireplaces, bath tubs, or any electrical charge conductors
  • Don’t take shelter near/under trees
  • Stay put if you are inside a car/bus/covered vehicle
  • Don’t use metallic objects, stay away from power/telephone lines
  • Get out of the water — pools, lakes, small boats — and take shelter immediately

AFTER THE STORM

  • Stay away from storm-damaged areas
  • Follow local radio/TV stations for updated information on weather and traffic updates
  • Help children, women, elderly and differently-abled
  • Stay away from fallen trees, all utility lines (power, phone lines), metal fences and hilltops Report fallen lines to the nearest tehsil/district headquarters

RESPONSE

  • Go to a safe shelter immediately if you can
  • Ideally find shelter in a low-lying area and make sure the spot chosen is not likely to flood. Crouch down with feet together and head down to make yourself a smaller target
  • Do not lie flat on the ground, this will make you a bigger target.
  • Do not take shelter under trees as these conduct electricity.

At least 124 people were killed and more than 300 others injured in five states due to dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning last week. There was another dust storm on Monday night followed by rain, thunder and lightning.