71 dead in lightning strikes in several states, flash floods in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu

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New Delhi, Jul 12 (PTI) Heavy rains triggered flash floods in parts of Himachal Pradesh and the Jammu region disrupting normal life on Monday even as the deaths due to lightning strikes in several states climbed to 71, including 42 in Uttar Pradesh.

Southwest Monsoon rains, which reached most parts of north India, however, gave Delhi and parts of Haryana a miss.

In 2002, monsoon reached Delhi on July 19. This is the most-delayed monsoon in the city since then.

The India Meteorological Department has issued an orange alert for Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir, and yellow alert for Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh for Tuesday with warning of heavy rains.

The IMD has four colour-coded warnings based on the intensity of a extreme weather event and issues them in the ascending order of green, yellow, orange and red.

In Himachal Pradesh's Dharamshala, flash floods triggered by heavy rains swept away cars and two buildings, videos of which were widely shared on the social media. The flash floods also damaged several buildings, including one housing a government school, as bad weather led to the closure of the Kangra airport at Gaggal.

The district administration instructed tourists to postpone their visit to the hill town in view of the heavy rains which also disrupted traffic movement on the Mandi-Pathankot highway.

In Jammu's Kathua region, 11 people, belonging to a nomadic community, were rescued after flash floods following heavy rains which disrupted normal life and inundated several areas. Several farm animals were, however, washed away.

The traffic movement was disrupted on the Pathankot-Jammu highway due to heavy flooding even as the heavy downpour led to a rise in water levels in major rivers in Jammu, including the Tawi.

Six people, including two minors, were killed and 11 others injured in separate incidents of lightning in parts of Madhya Pradesh.

In Uttar Pradesh, the death toll due to lightning strikes rose to 42 people.

The maximum 14 fatalities due to lighting were reported from Allahabad, followed by five deaths each in Kanpur Dehat and Fatehpur among others, officials said, adding 23 persons were injured in such incidents.

The number of people who died in separate incidents of lightning strikes on Sunday rose in Rajasthan to 23, including 12 in Jaipur. Twenty-seven people were also injured in those incidents.

The Southwest Monsoon rains reached the desert district of Jaisalmer and Ganganagar, its last outposts but gave Delhi and parts of Haryana a miss although the periphery of the national capital-- Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh and Karnal in Haryana -- received rains.

The national capital woke up to a humid morning with the minimum temperature settling at 27 degrees Celsius, while the maximum temperature was 37.7 degrees Celsius. The Relative humidity was recorded at 55 per cent at 5.30 pm.

It is expected to be a generally cloudy day with chances of light rain on Tuesday in Delhi.

'In association with continued prevalence of moist easterly winds from the Bay of Bengal in the lower levels since the past three days, enhanced cloud cover and scattered to fairly widespread rainfall during past 24 hours, the southwest monsoon has further advanced and covered most parts of Rajasthan and Punjab and some more parts of Haryana and west Uttar Pradesh on July 12,' the Met office said.

IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the Southwest Monsoon clouds are hovering over the national capital since Saturday, even the wind pattern has changed and easterlies have brought moist winds.

As rains continued to play truant in Delhi, the IMD said the failure of numerical models in predicting the monsoon advance over the capital this time is 'rare and uncommon'.

Rains also lashed several parts of Punjab and neighbouring Haryana on Monday, bringing relief to the people from the sultry weather conditions and ending the prolonged dry spell. It also brought the mercury by a few notches.

'The southwest monsoon has further advanced and is covering most parts of Punjab and many parts of Haryana,' an IMD official said.

Amritsar in Punjab received a heavy downpour during the day (56 mm), Ambala, Panchkula, Karnal and Yamunanagar in Haryana were among the places to receive showers.

Light to moderate rains also occurred at few places over eastern Uttar Pradesh and at isolated places over western parts of the state. Rainfall was recorded in Kannauj, Allahabad, Jalaun, Siddharth Nagar, Shravasti, Gorakhpur, Kanpur, Hardoi, Farrukhabad, Agra, Maharajganj, Balrampur, Pratapgarh, Jaunpur, Hamirpur and Shahjahanpur.

Several parts of Rajasthan received also showers, with Kota receiving 2.7 mm rainfall. Other places to receive rainfall were Sriganganagar (2.2 mm) followed by 2.0 mm in Bhilwara and 0.2 mm in Barmer.

The IMD has issued an orange alert for Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir, and yellow alert for Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh for Tuesday with warning of heavy rains.

Red alert has been issued for Konkan and Goa, and central Maharashtra, while an orange alert warning has been issued for Gujarat, parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Assam. It has also sounded a yellow alert for Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, parts of West Bengal and Kerala.

After revival of the southwest Monsoon, several parts of the country experienced heavy rains while some witnessed thunderstorms and lighting. PTI TEAM TDS TDS

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