Lightning strikes killed at least 19 people in 10 districts as heavy rains with nor’wester lashed the country Sunday.
Lightning strikes killed at least six people in Sirajganj, three in Magura, two in each of Noakhali and Naogaon, one in each of Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Brahmanbaria, Rangamati, Gopalganj and Gazipur.
The inclement weather disrupted normal life in the capital.
The rains occurred at different times since the morning as did nor’wester.
The number deaths caused by intermittent lightning strike could be more as the disaster management department is yet to have proper mechanism in place to make accurate estimates of the casualties.
Sunday’s thunderstorms were the worst the country experienced this summer until now.
Weatherman Ruhul Quddus told New Age that the Met Office recorded 66 mm of rainfall in the capital in nine hours since 6 AM, the highest for a single day this year.
The maximum wind speed of 62 km per hour was recorded around the Met Office at Agargaon.
Similar weather condition prevailed almost throughout the country, said Ruhul.
The Met Office predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall over the next 24 hours ending at 6 PM.
The day’s highest rainfall of 99 mm was recorded in Mymensingh City.
Thunderstorms occurred in the capital sporadically since 8 AM often with deafening sound.
The heavy showers caused water-logging in the capital, trees and power supply poles were uprooted by storms that lashed the capital time and again throughout the day.
Frequent power outage and small fires were caused by the storms in the capital.
At places power outage occurred for quite long.
Tailbacks halted traffic movement for hours at places causing huge public sufferings.
But due to public holiday for the celebration of Bouddha Purnima marking anniversaries of birth and death of Gautam Buddha less traffic movement was witnessed at some of the usually busy places.
Heavy clouds eclipsed the sun almost since the daybreak and in the gloomy condition motorists drove slowly keeping the headlights on until 9 AM.
On advisory from the Inland Water Transport Authority water transports suspended sailing on river routes time and again throughout the day.
BIWTA director for ports and traffic Shafiqul Haque said that the launch service from the Sadarghat terminal was suspended twice since the morning.
Ferry services between Paturia and Daulatdia were suspended several times the same thing happened with regard to ferry services between Aricha and Nagarbari.
According to the control room of the Fire Service at least nine incidents of small fire occurred in the capital, but they were immediately put out.
Fire service teams sped through the streets to remove uprooted trees to facilitate normal traffic movement.
Almost all the roads in Mirpur were submerged due to widespread road digging for the metro rail project.
No traffic could move on the busy Rokeya Sarani from 9 AM to 10 AM.
Severe water-logging caused public sufferings throughout the capital.
‘I don’t know how to return home at Sheorapara from my office at the Tejgaon Industrial Area,’ said daily Samakal’s reporter Amitosh Pal.
Power outage for two hours caused untold suffering to the patients of the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedic Rehabilitation.
The outage plunged parts of the orthopedic hospital into darkness, said NITOR director Gani Mollah.
The head office of the Department of Disaster Management confirmed deaths of eight people caused by lightning strikes in Sirajganj, Naogaon and Gazipur.
The DDM could not provide the countrywide figures of the casualties due to reluctance or laziness of its officials to collect information from their outlying offices.
According to DDM records, more than 1,200 were killed by lightning since 2012.
A Kent State University study of the same year ranked Bangladesh among the countries having the highest lightning-related casualties.
While many scientists relate the deaths to a rise in lightning activities caused by global warming, many consider rapid deforestation also a contributing factor.
The increasing number of deaths caused by lightning led Bangladesh to opt for automatizing its weather forecast system in 2015.
Bangladesh already missed two deadlines for updating its weather forecast mechanism.