As many as 34 people were killed and several others injured in thunderstorms that tore through various parts of the country, including Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, over the last 48 hours, ANI quoted officials as saying on Tuesday.

While Jharkhand reported the death of 12 people, the toll in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh stood at 12 and 10 respectively. These weather disturbances come at a time when the southwest monsoon has only just arrived in Kerala, three days ahead of schedule.

The deceased in Bihar included three members of a family who lost their lives in a tree collapse at Pekha village. Rescue operations are on to ensure that further casualties are avoided.

Several parts of Jharkhand have also been witnessing stormy conditions since Sunday. In Ranchi’s Itki area, 17-year-old Subhash Minz was struck by lightning around 8.30 pm on Monday while he was having dinner with four others outside his residence in Nari village.

In another incident, 12-year-old Vishal Mahto was returning home from a vegetable market with his grandfather when he was struck by lightning at Koynartoli village in Ranchi. The district witnessed its third casualty when a mason, identified as Phulesh Machua, was struck by a thunderbolt at Tamar on Monday evening.

Information on the other deaths is still awaited.

Delhi, by contrast, continued to reel under heatwave-like conditions with the temperature at Safdarjung shooting up to 43.5 degrees celsius (three degrees above normal) on Monday. However, the local meteorological department said some relief could come in the form of precipitation through Tuesday and Wednesday.

“There are chances of a dust storm or thunderstorm on Tuesday. But as that will occur only in the late afternoon or evening, the day temperature is likely to remain almost the same as Monday,” said RK Jenamani, head of the MeT department at the IGI airport.

Also, there is a high chance of rain and thundershowers on Wednesday. “A western disturbance is approaching and moisture-laden easterly winds are also gathering strength. The intense heat, the western disturbance and the easterly winds are expected to trigger some rain on Wednesday,” said a senior official.

Meanwhile, the early arrival of the monsoon in Kerala has given agriculturists across the country a reason to cheer. The weatherman has predicted a good season this year, unlike 2017 when at least 60 per cent of the country failed to benefit from adequate rainfall.

“Heavy rainfall was witnessed in many parts of the state as well as the Lakshadweep Islands. Amini in Lakshadweep reported 24 mm rain while Konni (Pathanamthitta) in Kerala registered 18 mm. The weather conditions are conducive for further advancement of clouds,” said IMD regional director K Santosh. The monsoon was expected to hit Kerala’s shores only by June 1.

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