BHUBANESWAR: Putting brakes on the undaunted heat wave, a sudden hailstorm hit the State Capital and parts of coastal Odisha on Friday bringing much needed relief from the baking conditions. Just what the doctor ordered.
Gusty wind which triggered a sand storm of sorts led to thundersqualls accompanied by hailstones. Though only parts of Bhubaneswar reported the hail storm, the thundershowers were uniform across the City and brought the mercury down just as it was threatening to go the Thursday way. On Thursday, the City had reported 45.3 degree C, all time second highest for the month. Friday was no different as the morning hours were gruelling.
By 1 pm, the maximum day temperature had shot up to 43.5 degree C and that was when the hailstorm arrived. Although a short spell, measured 2 mm by the weather office, it brought massive relief from the sweltering conditions as mercury plunged to about 30 degreeC by 3.30 pm. The Norwester brought down trees, snapped power supply and even denied landing of two passenger flights at the Biju Patnaik International Airport.
The Air Traffic Control had to divert Bengaluru-Bhubaneswar Indigo and New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Air India flights to Kolkata. Both the flights returned to the City later.
The Bhubaneswar Fire Station officials said as many as 18 trees were uprooted by the storm which not only blocked traffic at many places but also snapped power supply to many areas of the City since 3 pm. Several cars were found damaged by broken tree branches.
Neighbouring Cuttack received 13 mm rain while parts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Puri, Ganjam and Phulbani also reported minor rainfall. The weather office said, a change in wind pattern led to moisture incursion to coastal districts leading to the thundershowers. Similar showers may occur in some places of the State on Saturday onwards though mercury will rise too. While there was some relief from the heat in coastal districts, western and interior districts saw a dip in the mercury too. Angul recorded 43.6 degree C, the highest for the day.
Independent forecaster Skymet said temperatures will start rising from Saturday because of clear sky conditions though isolated thundershower or thunderstorm cannot be ruled out. A trough is moving across Odisha which may bring rain and thunderstorm over a few pockets of the State. While this may give some relief from sweltering hot weather, it may not be a substantial one, it added.
FIVE KILLED IN LIGHTNING
Berhampur: Five persons including a minor boy were killed and three others critically injured when lightning struck them in separate places of Ganjam district on Friday.One Raju Das of Dayapalli village under Hinjili police limits was going to market when lightning struck him, killing him instantly. Four other victims were identifi ed as Surendra Sethi, a labourer of Nistipur under Sanakhemundi block; Subrat Khalka, a labourer engaged in work at Paikjamuna village under Kabisuryanagar police limits; Bula Sethi of Anantei village under Kukudakhandi block and Suresh Rauta, a 13-year-old student of Champeitapur under Kabisuryanagar police station. Two women of Nistipur in Sanakhemundi and a man in Paikjamuna of Kabisuryanagar block were injured in lightning and admitted to hospitals.