Hailstones as large as the size of golf balls lashed parts of Jharkhand over the past 48 hours, damaging about 500 houses and dozens of vehicles in and around the capital city, officials said on Thursday.
There were no reports of any loss of lives. Local meteorological official DG Hedau said the state was likely to be hit by thunderstorms and winds up to 62 kmph during the next 48 hours.
Over the past two months, Jharkhand witnessed erratic weather, including untimely rain and thunderstorms that has damaged 40-60% of crops in the four districts of Godda, Ranchi, East Singhbhum and Bokaro, state disaster management officials said.
The government said it had paid compensation of more than Rs8crore, most of it to the affected families in Godda which reported crop losses of up to 60% and dozens of cattle deaths.
State disaster management officer Sanjay Srivastava quoted media reports to say about 100 people had been killed by lightning in the state this year.
However, the department will release the exact casualty figures after an official assessment, he said, adding, “We are allotting the fund to the districts as per their demand.”
Jharkhand experienced a heavy spell of hailstorm over Tuesday and Wednesday. Director of the Ranchi meteorological centre, BK Mandal, said at about 50 mm each the size of the hailstones had been a little more than the average this time — enough to cause widespread damage.
The size of hailstones generally depends on the distance of the clouds from the earth’s surface, Mandal said. He said a recurrence of hailstorms could not be ruled out.