Lightning kills 68 in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh

Lightning in the sky ahead of monsoon season in Ajmer in Saturday. PTI

New Delhi: Sixty eight people were killed by lightning in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh as many places in north India received showers on Sunday but the long-delayed monsoon missed yet another date with Delhi which was kept waiting for rains.

The IMD, however, predicted heavy rainfall at isolated places in north region by Monday morning.

Fourty one people, including two teenagers, were killed by lightning in Uttar Pradesh where rains occurred at isolated parts of the state.

Several parts of Rajasthan received rainfall where 20 people, including seven children, were killed in separate incidents after being struck by lightning which also injured 13 people. Thirteen animals, including 10 goats a cow, were also killed by lightning.

In a major tragedy in Jaipur, 11 persons, mostly youths, were killed and eight others injured when lightning struck them on a hill near the Amber Fort. Some of them were taking selfies on a watch tower while the others were on the hill. Those on the watch tower fell when lightning struck late in the evening, the police said.

"Eleven persons have died and eight are injured," Jaipur Police Commissioner Anand Srivastava said.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Governor Kalraj Mishra expressed grief over the loss of lives in the tragedies.

The loss of lives due to lightning strikes in Kota, Dholpur, Jhalawar, Jaipur and Baran today is very sad and unfortunate, Gehlot tweeted. He said that instructions have been given to the officials to provide immediate assistance to the families of the victims.

Seven people were also killed by lightning in Madhya Pradesh.

In yet another rain-related incident, three people, including an eight-year-old boy, were killed at a village in Uttarakhand after their house collapsed in a landslide caused due to heavy rains.

In the south, incessant rain continued to batter parts of Kerala as the weatherman issued an Orange alert for five northern districts of the state.

The IMD also advised fishermen not to venture into the Arabian Sea, predicting squally weather and strong winds off the Gujarat coast along with heavy rains in some parts till July 14.

As there was little relief from the unforgiving heat throughout the day in many parts of north India, the IMD said conditions are rife for advancement of Southwest Monsoon over Delhi as humidity has also increased due to easterlies, and formation of a low pressure area will also boost its advancement.

"We are expecting good spell on Monday," India Meteorological Department Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.

As monsoon played truant in the region, Central Delhi is now the most rain-deficient district in India, receiving only 8.5 mm rainfall against the normal of 125.1 mm since June 1, when the monsoon season starts, thus recording a shortfall of 93 per cent.

Overall, Delhi has received 64 per cent less rainfall than normal so far, putting it in the category of "large deficient" states.

The maximum temperature in the national capital settled at 39 degrees Celsius, three notches above the season's average, while the minimum settled at 28.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal.

Sultry weather conditions also prevailed in Haryana and Punjab with maximum temperatures hovering above the normal limits at most places.

Hisar in Haryana recorded a high of 40.8 degrees Celsius, three notches above normal limits while Bhiwani recorded a high of 40.7 deg C. In Punjab too, the temperatures hovered above normal at most places, with Patiala recording a high of 38.2 deg C, up two degrees.

"The conditions continue to remain favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon over Delhi, remaining parts of west Uttar Pradesh, some more parts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan during the next 24 hours," the IMD said in its latest statement.

The prediction came after several instances this season when the IMD got its monsoon forecast for Delhi and nearby regions wrong, leaving the area high and dry.

Experts said wrong signals by models, difficulty in predicting the outcomes of the interactions between the easterly and westerly winds were some of the major reasons behind the IMD's monsoon forecast for parts of north India going haywire.

The Southwest Monsoon has reached almost all parts of the country but has stayed away from parts of north India. It is yet to reach Delhi, Haryana, parts of west Uttar Pradesh and west Rajasthan.

The IMD had predicted that monsoon is expected to cover these parts by June -- a little less than a month back, but its predictions are yet to come true.

The IMD said heavy to very heavy rainfall is likely at isolated places over Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, the Gujarat region, Madhya Maharashtra, coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam, Telangana, coastal and south interior Karnataka, Kerala and Mahe and Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal.

It has also issued alerts for several north Indian states and a red warning for coastal Maharashtra.

It said thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and gusty winds (with a speed of 30-40 kilometres per hour) are very likely at isolated places over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Telangana.

Bringing some relief, light to moderate rain and thundershowers occurred at isolated places in Uttar Pradesh, while other districts, including Maharajganj, Gorakhpur, Rae Bareli, Sant Kabir Nagar, Allahabad, Balrampur, Bahraich and Jhansi also received rainfall.

Fatehgarh was the hottest place in Uttar Pradesh where mercury touched 42.5 degrees Celsius.

Several places in Rajasthan recorded light to heavy showers on Sunday, with Jaipur receiving the maximum 63 mm rains.

Gangrar in Bhilwara district recorded 41 mm rainfall, while Reodar in Sirohi and Jawaja in Ajmer recorded 35 mm and 34 mm, respectively.

Bundi , Ajmer, Sikar and Ganganagar also received 23 mm, 11 mm, 9 mm and 2 mm rains respectively, according to the weather department here.

The IMD has issued an Orange alert for Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasaragod districts of Kerala and a Yellow alert for Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur and Palakkad districts.

Madhya Pradesh, the IMD said, has received 11 per cent below normal rainfall from June 1 to July 11 due to a break in the monsoon activity.

(With PTI inputs)

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