The north Indian states have been reeling under severe weather conditions for the last few weeks and the situation is unlikely to see an improvement any time soon. About 13 states had been put on alert by the meteorological department and now Delhi, NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan have been witnessing some extreme conditions.
The states have been hit by severe thunderstorms and dust storms, leading to the closure of government and private schools in the region. Monday, May 7, night saw dust storms with speeds of about 70 kilometers per hour and the Met office has said that this is likely to continue Tuesday, May 8, as well.
"Thunderstorm with squall conditions are expected with wind speeds reaching 50-70 km/hr in some places in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and west Uttar Pradesh could also witness these conditions," the Hindustan Times quoted the Met office as saying.
The dust storm is said to have damaged several houses, uprooted trees and brought down electric poles in several places. Power outages were also reported from many areas.
Authorities have been asking residents to take precautions and stay indoors unless absolutely necessary to step out. The Haryana government has also canceled the leaves of all municipal officials and fire and emergency services have been put on alert.
The Delhi traffic police have also advised commuters to be cautious while commuting. The advisory said that commuters should "keep themselves updated about weather conditions and plan their journey accordingly."
Meanwhile, the Delhi metro has also said that it was on alert for heavy rains and thunderstorms. Metro authorities explained that the trains will function normally if the winds are within 70-90 kmph. However, in case the wind speed is higher than 90 kilometers per hour, services may be hit.
Higher altitude areas may receive heavy rains and snowfall and Manmohan Singh, Director of IMD, Himachal Pradesh, said that the temperature in Shimla has already dipped four-five degrees below normal.
The severe and erratic weather conditions have been attributed to a western disturbance.
"While a western disturbance would hit the western Himalayas and the plains of north India, a cyclonic circulation has also developed over north-east Rajasthan. There is also a trough of low pressure between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. These systems would trigger rain and thunderstorms across north India and Delhi-NCR," another Met official told the daily.
The weather has also affected airline operations and six arriving flights and one departing flight was reportedly delayed.
The states of West Bengal and Sikkim have also been asked to remain alert.