Lightning strikes on March 15 over Marathwada followed by similar incident over Vidarbha, claimed lives of at least six people and damaged standing crops over this region.

Lightning strikes on March 15 over Marathwada followed by similar incident over Vidarbha, claimed lives of at least six people and damaged standing crops over this region.
The instances of lightning and thunderstorm activity, reported over parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha earlier this week, is not a common occurring event in March, said officials at India Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune, on Friday. Lightning strikes along with hailstorm reported on March 15 over Marathwada followed by similar incident over Vidarbha, claimed lives of at least six people and damaged standing crops over this region. Though weather experts hesitated from terming it as an unusual event, experts, however, said that records of past instances show that such activity rarely occurred in March, which is when there is seasonal transition.

According to authorities at IMD, lightning and thunderstorm are more likely to occur during April and May, known as pre-monsoon season. In Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathwada have been found more prone to this activity. Such events are not common over southern peninsular regions , said experts. "In this case too, the confluence of moist-laden winds from the Bay of Bengal and dry winds from the northern plains led to the drop in temperature, resulting in the sudden charging up of atmosphere causing lightning and thunderstorm," said an IMD official.

Lightning occurs when there is excess heating on land, pushing the hot air upwards. These when interact with cooler droplets inside a cloud, particularly during an event of thunderstorm, this charged-up particles are released in the for of a lightning flash. "Since temperature ranging 37 - 42 degrees, which can trigger lightning over the Indian subcontinent are observed during months of April and May, that is peak of summer, chances of occurrence of such incidents are higher," added the official.