A couple was crushed to death when a brief spell of heavy rains and high velocity winds caused a tree to fall on them, on Sunday.
The whirlwind and rains which raged for about half-an-hour wreaked havoc as it uprooted trees and flattened paddy crop, which would be ready for harvest in about two weeks.
The deceased were identified as Gian Singh (47), teacher at a government school in Samana, and his wife Amarjit Kaur (45). They were residents of Kalaran village here.
The couple was heading home (Samana) from Patiala on a motorcycle when the incident occurred near Dakraba village. The people nearby removed the tree immediately and the couple was rushed to the Government Medical College and Rajindra Hospital, Patiala, where they were declared dead.
The winds and rain which started at around 3 pm destroyed paddy crop in Patiala and nearby areas.
Agricultural experts said that rain is detrimental to paddy crop at this stage. However, winds had caused maximum damage by flattening them.
Thakur Singh, a farmer from Samana, said, "Already, last week's rain damaged the 15% of the crops. This whirlwind has come as another jolt. In some fields, there is 30-40% crop loss."
Farmers in the region said over 1,500 varieties of paddy suffered a loss as they were ready to be harvested in two weeks' time.
Agricultural scientist Dr Balwinder Sohal said yield of varieties such as Basmati which are in fructification period, would also be affected.
Frequent showers would also delay sowing winter crops because of the higher moisture content and the wet conditions, said Satnam Singh Bheru, president of Consortium of Indian Farmers' Association.