Thunderstorms kill 47 as freak weather hits India

Storms and lightning across northern India have killed at least 47 people, officials have said.

Disaster management officials in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand states said a combined total of 47 people had died in overnight storms across the region.

At least 11 people are thought to have killed by lightning strikes.

Six people died in Unnao district, 25 miles south of Uttar Pradesh state’s capital Lucknow, said state spokesman Awanish Awasthi.

The storm also blew down power lines, Mr Awasthi added.

Bihar was the worst hit as it was pounded by strong winds and thunderbolts.

Indians in Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, were buffeted with winds of up to 43mph (69kph).

“Fifteen people were killed by overnight lightning and high speed winds,” said T.P. Gupta, an official from the Uttar Pradesh disaster management department.

A further 10 people were injured, some with burns, after being struck by lightning.

Many people in rural India sleep outdoors during the summer to escape the heat.

Earlier this month, nearly 200 people died in Uttar Pradesh as strong winds and sandstorms brought down walls and electricity poles.

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Most were killed when their homes collapsed, according to officials.

Extreme weather in north India can occur at this time of year as the intense summer heat begins to give way to annual monsoon rains.

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