Hi everyone! It’s Caroline Brown and I’m back for another look at the wild weather across the globe!
Last week, Justin showed us intense flooding in Bangladesh and India, as well as a deadly earthquake in Afghanistan. This week we’re going to talk about deadly lightning in India, a rare tornado in the Netherlands, and sandstorms in the Middle East. Let’s get to it!
Lightning kills 16 in India:
Lightning in the region of Bihar killed 16 people over a 24-hour period on Tuesday. Earlier this month on June 20, 17 people were killed by lightning bringing the state’s June lightning death count to 36. This is a highly populated state in eastern India with an estimated population of 128 million people. Lightning fatalities are common in India with about 2,000 deaths attributed to it a year. One of the primary reasons there are so many lightning deaths in India is because a large population works outdoors. There have been several awareness campaigns to try and mitigate this with solutions, such as placing school buses in agricultural fields so workers have a safe place to wait out storms.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 93% of their life indoors, which certainly is a factor on why our lightning fatalities are significantly less than India’s. Although our lightning fatalities are less frequent, it’s still important to head indoors if you hear thunder because lightning is so hot. Did you know the surface of the sun is roughly 10,000°F while lightning is roughly 50,000°F. This means lightning is about five times hotter than the surface of the sun -- certainly something you do not want to mess with!
In the Netherlands a tornado touched down Monday afternoon, killing one and injuring 10. This is the first time in 30 years the country has seen a deadly tornado (previous was 1992). The tornado hit the coastal town of Zierikzee, which is a 90-minute drive southwest from Amsterdam. This is a region that does not see many twisters at all! On average, the Netherlands sees between one to three tornadoes a year, most of which are very weak.
Sandstorms in the Middle East:
Sandstorms have been a problem in the Middle East for centuries, but over the past few months there has been several that have severely disrupted daily life in Iraq and Syria, nearly every week. Several deaths have been attributed to these haboobs, and over the weekend a dust storm hit Erbil that reduced visibility so much that businesses had to close and flights were suspended. Unfortunately, dust storms will continue to worsen and be more prevalent with climate change in this region. Temperatures are warming, and rain is less frequent, causing the soil to degrade.
These storms can be very scary as the dust moves in quick, reducing visibility and causing, at times, deadly health effects. Last month a dust storm spread across the Middle East and caused thousands to be hospitalized. Here are some photos from that devastating storm:
Back here in Southeast Texas, we’ve been watching the Gulf Coast for expected heavy rainfall through Saturday. Another region to watch is the southern Caribbean, where tropical alerts are in place for what may become Tropical Storm Bonnie. See y’all next Thursday for another extreme weather update!