High-velocity winds accompanied by rain and hailstorm on Monday night came as a shock to farmers in the district and lodged their standing wheat crop over many acres.
Maximum damage was reported from Ajnala, Tarsikka, and Majitha, besides Kotli Naseer Khan and Khapar Kheri villages of Verka block, where district agricultural officials are assessing the loss.
The plants that lodged were in the process of earing (grain formation). In the past 24 hours, Amritsar received 11.1-mm rain. "However, it was not the rain but the squall that caused all the damage," said district agriculture officer Dilbagh Singh Dhanju.
In Gurdaspur, the storm flattened wheat crop in almost all the parts of the district. Chief agriculture officer Ravi Kumar Sabharwal said the damage to the wheat crop could be 15 to 20%. "Strong winds shook the roots of the wheat plants, which is likely to result in a partial loss to the yield," he said.
The loss assessment in Gurdaspur will finish in a few days and be reported to the state government.
"Harvesting the flattened crop would be difficult," said Sabharwal. "Showers when the crop is on the verge of ripening are always harmful. However, not much damage was done to the wheat crop in Pathankot district," he added.
Many big trees on roadsides in the district were uprooted, interrupting traffic around Amritsar. The forest department workers remained busy removing the fallen logs.