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April 15, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Nor'wester Demolishes Mud Huts/Kills 122+ People in India

Earlier this week I blogged about the severe heat wave in India and today I’m here to talk about a powerful storm that devastated parts of eastern India Tuesday night. It was about midnight when a severe storm, known as a Nor’wester, ripped through parts of the eastern Indian states of West Bengal and Bihar. So far, 122 people have been killed but the death toll is expected to rise. Hundreds of others were injured and an estimated 100,000 were left homeless. Bihar state’s Minister for Disaster Management, Devesh Chandra Thakur, says there was no warning from the weather bureau, so villagers were unprepared.


Officials say the system packed winds of more than 100 mph, which demolished tens of thousands of mud huts in northeastern India. At least 81 people were killed in the state of Bihar, with the highest number of fatalities in the city of Purnia according to officials. Temporary shelters have been set up for people who lost their homes. Food and medical supplies are being rushed in to help those in need.

A woman rests in a damaged hut in the cyclone-hit area of Asuragar village, about 130 km (81 miles) south of Siliguri. Image: Reuters

Nor’westers are pretty typical for this time of year in India and they develop over the Bay of Bengal during their hot months. However, this was an unusually powerful cyclone that hit eastern India late Tuesday. This isn’t the only weather phenomenon India has had to deal with recently. As I blogged about earlier this week, temperatures have been well above average through parts of the country and more than 40 people have already died from heat-related deaths. Temperatures in some parts of the country have soared to between 104-114F. There typical summer months run from March through the end of May or first of June. In western and southern regions, the hottest month tends to be April, but for the northern regions, May usually is the hottest.

Image: Reuters

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