Inside the extreme weather week of June 30

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Hello everyone! It’s Caroline Brown and I’m back for another look at wild weather around the world!

Last week, Justin showed us intense flooding in Bangladesh and India, and a deadly earthquake in Afghanistan. This week, we’ll talk about deadly lightning strikes in India, a rare tornado in the Netherlands, and sandstorms in the Middle East. Let’s go!

Lightning in the Bihar region killed 16 people in 24 hours on Tuesday. Earlier this month, on June 20, 17 people were killed by lightning, bringing the death toll from lightning in June to 36. It is a highly populated state in eastern India with an estimated population of 128 million. Deaths from lightning are common in India, with around 2,000 fatalities attributed to it per year. One of the main reasons why there are so many lightning deaths in India is that a large part of the population works outdoors. There have been several awareness campaigns to try to alleviate this with solutions, such as placing school buses in agricultural fields so that workers have a safe place to wait out storms.

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 93% of their lives indoors, which certainly explains why our deaths from lightning are significantly lower than those of India. Although our lightning fatalities are less frequent, it’s still important to get inside if you hear thunder because lightning is so hot. Did you know that the surface of the sun is around 10,000°F while lightning is around 50,000°F. This means that lightning is around five times hotter than the surface of the sun – definitely something with which you don’t want to bother!

Flash (Pixlr)

In the Netherlands, a tornado touched down on Monday afternoon, killing one person and injuring 10. It was the first time in 30 years that the country had experienced a deadly tornado (the previous one was in 1992). The tornado hit the coastal town of Zierikzee, located a 90-minute drive southwest of Amsterdam. This is an area that does not see many tornadoes at all! On average, the Netherlands experiences between one and three tornadoes a year, most of which are very weak.

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Go here to see the tornado in images submitted by viewers to CNN-News18.

Sandstorms have been a problem in the Middle East for centuries, but in recent months several have severely disrupted daily life in Iraq and Syria almost 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 shut down and flights were suspended. Unfortunately, dust storms will continue to get worse and more frequent with climate change in this region. Temperatures are warming and rains are less frequent, causing soil degradation.

These storms can be very scary as the dust moves quickly, reducing visibility and sometimes causing fatal health effects. Last month, a dust storm swept through the Middle East and hospitalized thousands of people. Here are some photos of this devastating storm:

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A man pushes a cart during a sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
A man pushes a cart during a sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
A fisherman navigates his boat on the Shatt al-Arab waterway during a sandstorm in Basra, Iraq, Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
People drive vehicles on a street during a sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
A man drives his wheelchair down a street during a sandstorm in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Back here in Southeast Texas, we watched the Gulf Coast for heavy rain expected through Saturday. Another area to watch is the southern Caribbean, where tropical warnings are in place for what could become Tropical Storm Bonnie. See you next Thursday for another severe weather update!

Copyright 2022 by KPRC Click2Houston – All Rights Reserved.


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