Published from Mumbai, Delhi & Bhopal

36 hurt in Mumbai dust-storm, airport operations resume after an hour; city braces for rain-storm

Mumbai : At least 36 people were injured in various incidents after a massive dust-storm on Monday hit Mumbai, the country’s commercial capital and surroundings, which are now bracing for a thunderstorm predicted to lash over the next few hours, officials said.

The dust storm and gusty winds, coupled with light rains paralysed flight operations at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), forcing suspension of services for around 66 minutes.

The normal operations resumed at 5.03 p.m. but there were at least 15 flight diversions in the intervening period, said an official spokesperson.

In a potentially huge tragedy, a gigantic metal hoarding crashed on a petrol pump at Pant Nagar in Ghatkopar east in which at least 35 persons were injured and 100 are feared trapped, said the BMC Disaster Control.

In another incident, a vertical steel parking lot of the Shreeji Towers in Wadala crashed in the gusty winds, crushing around a dozen vehicles and injuring at least one person who was in a car, said the BMC.

There were several incidents of tree crashes in different parts of Mumbai and Thane, a couple or road accidents, and other tragedies in the dust-storm, and more details are awaited.

The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a warning of a thunderstorm likely to hit parts of Mumbai with strong winds of 50-60 kmph, after dusk.

The IMD Pune head K.S. Hosalikar said that a moderate to intense thunderstorm would hit Thane, Raigad, Palghar, Ahmednagar, Pune and Satara, besides parts of Mumbai in the next couple of hours.

Earlier, a massive dust-storm shrouded large parts of Mumbai and suburbs besides adjoining Thane and Navi Mumbai with visibility dropping drastically, hitting road and air traffic.

The dust-storm, something rare for coastal Mumbai, whipped up suddenly with strong gusty winds around 3 p.m. and within minutes, enveloped almost the entire city, dipping visibility, darkening the atmosphere and hampering movement of vehicular traffic and pedestrians.

After over an hour, the dustiness gave way to dark clouds with showers reported in many parts of Mumbai which appreciably dropped the scorching temperatures and also improved visibility to normal levels.

The causes of the dust storm in Mumbai, often referred to as the concrete jungle, were not immediately known, but the IMD had forewarned it in an alert earlier on Monday afternoon.

Many people complained that their homes, shops, offices and other places were covered in a thick layer of dust that blew in abruptly before they could shut the doors and windows.

Hindi Website