BHUBANESWAR: Even as Odisha topped in thunderbolt strikes in the country with a rise of around 37 per cent (pc) in a year, it has been successful in reducing deaths related to lightning.
The Annual Lightning Report 2020-21 revealed, the lightning strikes rose from around 14.2 lakh strikes in 2019-20 to 20.43 lakh in the last fiscal, but the deaths came down from 207 to 156 during the period.
The report has been prepared by Climate Resilient Observing Systems Promotion Council (CROPC) that works closely with the IMD to provide early lightning forecasts.
Bihar ranked No.1 with 401 deaths, followed by 238 in Uttar Pradesh, 228 in Madhya Pradesh. The reduction in deaths in the State has been attributed to early lightning warnings.
While IMD issues forecasts in three steps - medium range before three to five days, short range before one to three days and nowcast before two to three hours, the Damini app provides location specific alerts before 40 minute.
"Yet, there is a lack of protocol and mechanism for last mile public notification and interventions, which could have helped in reducing more deaths. Disaster management authorities need to spread awareness about what needs to be done or what not during a lightning strike," the report stated.
There has been a 34 pc rise in lightning strikes in the country and it has advanced from 1.38 crore strikes in 2019-2020 to 1.8 crore strikes in 2020-2021.
Since States like Punjab has the highest rise of 331 pc, followed by Bihar (168 pc), Haryana (164 pc), Himachal Pradesh (105 pc) and West Bengal (100 pc), the CROPC has suggested States like Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand to take cognizance of it.
Coastal States like Odisha and Gujarat had conversion ratio of over 40 pc in cloud to ground lightning while Andhra Pradesh had less than 20 pc conversion of lightning from inter cloud to ground.
Districts like Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Deogarh and Sundargarh were hit by a high of over 4000 cloud to ground strikes per 400 square km area in 2020-21.
According to IMD, Bariparda, Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda, Gopalpur, Cuttack, Titlagarh, Sambalpur, Puri, Balangir and Berhampur are prone to lightning.
"Odisha has been at the forefront in installing lightning arresters on all cyclone shelters. There are more fatalities in the pre-monsoon to initial monsoon days as there is a large number of farmers in the agriculture field," said CROPC chairperson Sanjay Srivastava.