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November 17, 2019

Ensuring safety from lightning strikes, gales in late monsoon season

  • Since the monsoon retreated in late September, news of lightning strikes which kill cattle and people indiscriminately has been appearing in the newspapers.
    Besides, incidents in which houses have been damaged or destroyed by gale-force winds have been reported almost daily in the newspapers since late September.
    It has been found that most of the victims killed by lightning strikes were farmers and they were struck by lightning while working in the fields.
    Four people were killed in lightning strike on 14 October. Two were killed in Twantay, Yangon Region, and two more in Zalun, Ayeyawady Region.
    People must stay indoors because thunderstorm activity is likely to continue this month as cumulus clouds usually appear in early and late monsoon seasons.
    Apart from thunderstorms, high speed winds are likely to hit areas where cumulus clouds form this month.
    With the formation of cumulus clouds in the pre-monsoon and post-monsoon season, there has been an increase in the number of lightning strikes, hailstorms, and gale-force winds.
    Flash floods kill people and animals every year, and twisters are also common.
    The number of deaths caused by lightning strikes has also increased, reaching over 100 in some years. The death toll is expected to continue rising year by year.
    Most parts of the country have experienced lightning and strong winds during the day due to high temperatures. However, there are ways in which people can protect themselves and reduce the risk of death.
    We must switch off electrical appliances, such as televisions and mobile phones, during rainstorms accompanied by thunder and lightning.
    Gale-force winds, which tend to follow heavy rainfall, hit parts of Myanmar every year, destroying homes and toppling trees.
    Rain accompanied by thunderstorms and gales is expected over many areas, especially in the Ayeyawady region and adjoining areas, such as Yangon and Bago regions, and coastal areas as cumulus clouds have formed over the areas.
    As the weather is transitioning from monsoon to winter and cumulus clouds have formed in Southeast Asian countries, and we can expect more lightning strikes rather than a gradual increase as the world warms up due to climate change.

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