Read the given passage and answer the questions that follow.

On May 2, 2018, severe dust storms and thunderstorms hit parts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and other adjoining regions. Explaining the reasons behind such severe weather system, M. Mohapatra, senior scientist with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said that dust storms and thunderstorms are a result of nearly similar weather conditions, like intense heat. Areas that have moisture in the air experience thunderstorms while those which don’t have moisture experience dust storms.

“All such conditions were being fulfilled on that day. The region had moist easterly winds coming from the Bay of Bengal and there was western disturbance system too. All this together triggered the events on May 2,” he added. In simple terms, dust storm can be explained as a phenomenon when strong winds carry dust over an extensive area.

As far as the timing of their occurrence is concerned, Mohapatra stated that there is no deviation in time of occurrence of a dust storm and thunderstorm activity as they usually peak in the pre-monsoon period.

These events happen between March and May only. In the pre-monsoon period temperatures are very high, around 44-45 degree Celsius and lead to such activities. Even as dust storms and thunderstorms are a common feature every year there has been no focused work on studying the trends related to it.

“In the coming years there could be more instances of intense thunderstorms and sand storms but they have to be studied in detail looking at the data of over 30-40 years to notice a trend. Work has been more or less confined to cyclones and monsoon systems but not much on dust storms or thunderstorms. It needs study,” admitted Mohapatra.

The extent of damage caused by thunderstorm activity in India can be gauged from the data of India’s National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). As per the NCRB data, compared to other natural disasters like cyclone, floods or heat waves, lightning kills more people in India. For instance, at least 25 percent of the 10,510 accidental deaths attributable to forces of nature in 2015 were due to lightning. The number of deaths due to lightning has constantly remained over 2,000 every year since 2005.

Question 195

A dust storm mainly occurs due to:

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