Severe dust storm claims 9 lives in New Delhi, India

A severe dust storm struck the world’s second largest metropolis with a population of 22 million. The strong winds it carried disrupted power lines and caused traffic congestion in various parts of the metropolis. The death toll is officially put at 9 people, but it is likely to climb higher because many of the 20 wounded are in critical condition. The storm brought down the metro hub in the center of the city during rush hour which is what led to many of the traffic delays.

All but two of the deaths being reported were the result of tree limbs collapsing onto motorists or pedestrians. In some cases, the walls of their victim’s homes caved in on them. One teenage girl, age 17, was decapitated by the corrugated tin laid out as a roof top which flew at her like a high speed shard. It is reported that at one point, the winds were in excess of 90 km/h (~56 mph). The storm occurred late Friday afternoon and early evening. By 5:00PM, the skies over New Delhi began to darken and followed by high speed winds and rain. This caused peril for people out on the streets as trees were uprooted, hoardings (IE billboards) and tree limbs were cast to the street. The chaos sent people scrambling for cover. The storm only lasted five minutes.

The temperature swung wildly in the afternoon as a run up to the storm. By 2:30PM, the temperature was measured at 42.4 C (108.3 F), but dropped to 26 C (~79 F) prior to the start of the storm. The plunge in the heat is believed to have been the cause of the sudden halt of the metropolis leaving so many people exposed to the impending winds.


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