At least five people were killed and several injured after thunderstorms and lightning strikes struck Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday evening.
One of the dead, has been identified as Chinnapureddy Siva Reddy, who was killed in a lightning strike when he took his buffaloes out to graze in the fields. Visuals of the incident also showed two buffalo lying dead in a field.
A pall of gloom descended over the village as the farmer was shifted to the Narasaraopet government hospital for an autopsy.
This follows a similar incident which had occurred earlier this month, where six reported deaths due to lightning strikes surfaced from Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra.
On the same day, three farmers had also died of lightning in Telangana's Mancherial district.
The weather is in complete contrast with the Krishna and Vijayawada regions of the state, where it looks like temperatures are not likely to go down anytime soon.
For their part, district health officials too are on high alert due to the heat wave. Krishna district health centres and area PHCs were asked to accommodate sunstroke victims.
Earlier this month, district officials in Guntur, Prakasam, Krishna and Nellore were kept on their toes after the Andhra Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (APSDMA) alerted them over â€˜heavy thunderstorm activityâ€™ expected in the four districts.
The APDSMA recorded such an overwhelming number of lightning strikes within a short span with the authorities terming it â€˜unusualâ€™. Fearing that the numbers could spread panic, the authorities refused to share the data related to the strikes.
However, scientists from the Indian Meteorological Department have said that thunderstorms of such severity during summers is quite common.
Lightning strikes and who is more vulnerable
When lightning strikes the ground or an object on the ground, the discharge occurs in and along the ground surface (not deep into the ground). This creates a dangerous and potentially deadly ground current near the lightning strike.
A lightning strike depends on many factors. Some places are more vulnerable to strikes than others due to the speed of the storm. Lightning need not always strike the highest given point in any area.
According to experts, anyone standing on a high ground, in an open space, near water or near large metallic structures or trees are more vulnerable to lightning strikes.