47 deaths reported across India related to dust storm, lightning and rain

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A truck driver comes out from his vehicle to take shelter during rain and strong winds caused by cyclonic storm named Titli, or Butterfly near Gopalpur on the Bay of Bengal coast, Ganjam district, eastern Orissa state, India, Thursday, Oct.11, 2018. The severe cyclone damaged mud huts and uprooted trees and electric poles Thursday in eastern India where authorities have moved nearly 300,000 people to higher ground. (AP Photo)

NEW DELHI:  A powerful storm bringing dust, lightning and unseasonal rain has killed at least 47 people in central and western India, officials said Wednesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed anguish in a tweet over the loss of lives and announced relief for the victims’ families.

Tuesday’s storm had winds reaching 50 kilometres per hour (30 miles per hour) and damaged homes and uprooted trees and power lines in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan states.

The worst hit was Rajasthan state, where at least 24 people died, relief officer Ashutosh Pednekar said.

Madhya Pradesh state’s top elected official, Kamal Nath, said at least 10 deaths were reported there.

The Press Trust of India news agency said 13 other deaths were reported in Gujarat and Maharashtra states.

India‘s monsoon season starts in June and ends in September.