12 dead, 14 injured in lightning strikes in Odisha

Representational image.
The Odisha government has declared lightning as a state-specific disaster.

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Sunday said the death toll in lightning strikes that occurred across the state a day before rose to 12.

The government also announced an ex gratia of Rs 4 lakh for the next of kin of each deceased.

Lightning strikes claimed the lives of four people in Khurda district, two in Bolangir and one each in Angul, Boudh, Gajapati, Jagatsinghpur, Dhenkanal and Puri, the office of the special relief commissioner (SRC) said.

Fourteen people were also injured in the lightning strikes in 11 districts of Odisha on Saturday.

Among the injured, eight are in Bolangir district, three in Khurda, and one each in Angul, Cuttack and Ganjam, the SRC office said.

Besides, eight bovines -- six in Gajapati and two in Kandhamal -- were also killed in the lightning strikes.

All the 11 districts and the twin cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack witnessed heavy rain with lightning strikes a day before, an official said.

Bhubaneswar and Cuttack recorded 126 mm and 95.8 mm of rainfall respectively during a 90-minute spell on Saturday afternoon.

The state recorded 36,597 CC (cloud to cloud) lightning and 25,753 CG (cloud to ground) lightning in the afternoon, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) said on X, formerly Twitter.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had on Saturday forecast heavy rainfalls with lightning strikes in several parts of the state in the next four days.

A cyclonic circulation has activated the monsoon which caused heavy rainfall across the state, it said.

The meteorological department has advised people to take shelter in safe places during thunderstorm activity.

A cyclonic circulation also lies over the northeast Bay of Bengal, while another is likely to form over the north of the Bay of Bengal around September 3, said H R Biswas, director of the Regional Meteorological Centre here.

Under its influence, a low-pressure area is likely to form during the subsequent 48 hours.

Due to the cyclonic circulation and possible low-pressure area, the southwest monsoon, which remained subdued in Odisha, will now cause heavy rainfall during the next three to four days, he said.

The Odisha government has declared lightning as a state-specific disaster.

As many as 281 people lost their lives due to lightning in 30 districts in the 2021-22 year, official sources said.

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