Dust Storms in India


Nick Rippo, Staff Writer

Recently this year there were dust storms in India. This isn’t an unusual occurrence but these ones were especially deadly. There were about one hundred and twenty five deaths reported. Most of which were caused by the collapse of buildings and other such structures. It is also important however, to note how devastating the winds were. These types of winds are characterized by an intense downward movement of air. These winds are known as downburst. This movement of wind vertically, instead of the normal horizontal direction of the wind. This has a much more effective impact on the structure of the buildings, this causing such a radical number of deaths when compared to most other dust storms. The extreme heat in Pakistan earlier, is said to have intensified the storm. The temperature there, in April was approximately one hundred and twenty two degrees in the town of Nawabshah. This town is very close to the border between Pakistan and India.

These dust storms did not even stay as dust storms though. Once these storms reached further east, in states such as Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, they increased in severity and also became thunderstorms. This was made even worse by the intense rains crashing down to the ground below. Winds from the east, originating in the Bay of Bengal brought the moisture that merged with the western winds. The mixture of extremely high temperature and moisture make for a combination that cause these types of radically destructive storms.

According to India’s Meteorological department, the damage caused by these storms are the worst seen in twenty years. It has been warned that there is more to come. There will be supposedly be severe thunderstorms across northern India over the course of the next few days. These numerous dust and thunder storms have become a great concern, not only for the immediate lives of citizens, but also for the fact that these storms are causing major desertification. This desertification causes more storms and perpetuates a deadly cycle. This cause for concern is multiplied exponentially by the increasing amount of droughts in South East Asia. These droughts also cause more storms, adding to this troublesome pattern of increasingly severe dust and thunder storms.