The operations of nearly all the airlines – domestic and global – were affected as the runway had to be closed down and the flight services suspended for a while, the sources said. The dust storm interrupted an event Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal was to attend in east Delhi.
However, scientists from the Indian Meteorological Department have said that thunderstorms of such severity during summers is quite common.
Its forecast said parts of Rajasthan might also see dust storm.
Apart from these states, thunderstorms were also recorded in many parts of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Assam, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Delhi Metro services were affected at several stations on the Violet and Blue lines after trees fell on overhead electricity (OHE) wires.
“The winds claimed two lives, besides injuring 19 people”, the state-run broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) said.
Meanwhile, nine persons were struck dead by lightning and three injured in Srikakulam and Kadapa districts of Andhra Pradesh.
When the Metro services resumed, the trains plied at halting speed. Trains and commuter rail lines were paused and dozens of flights were diverted from New Delhi’s worldwide airport as the storm blew into the city.
The Met department had forecast rain and thunderstorm with gusty winds on Sunday.
The relief commissioner’s office, although, has confirmed only 18 deaths besides two dozen injuries in Sunday’s dust storm. People are leaving the metro as it has not been moving since last half an hour.
# 05:41 PM: Metro at Botanical Garden station stuck for 15 minutes.
Same was the case at the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata and several flights were canceled and delayed. Reports said some 10 worldwide flights were diverted to Lucknow after the ATC at the IGI airport refused permission to land.
# 05:22 PM: Delhi: Dust storm, strong winds and rainfall hit the national capital.
Private airline Vistara’s Srinagar-Delhi flight was diverted to Amritsar because of the weather, it said in a tweet.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi too expressed his condolences, “My condolences to the families of those killed in the severe storms and lightning strikes across India, yesterday”.
A passerby was hit by a hoarding brought down by winds near the Stellar Jeevan Society in Noida and died while one woman was killed in Aligarh.