Nor’westers formed by hot and humid air during ongoing pre-monsoon period have become more deadly than other major storms in Bangladesh.
This type of squall is common during April, as the Bangla month of Baishakh (April) is called the month of Kalboishakhi, observed people who are familiar with climatology in the country.
But, the fury of present day nor’westers is much more lethal than that of previous ones.
At least eight people, including a child and a woman, were killed and 100 others injured by nor’wester that swept across Dinajpur, Rangpur, Sylhet, Magura, and Jessore districts and elsewhere on March 30.
At least two people were killed by the storm that swept over three southern districts of Barishal, Bhola and Jhalkathi on April 17.
Two people died in Barishal and Bhola districts while many others were injured and hundreds of houses got destroyed in the natural disaster.
An elderly woman was killed as a wall collapsed on her during a nor’wester at Bakchar village in Ashashuni upazila of Satkhira on April 24.
On April 22, a devastating nor’wester coupled with thundershower, caused mayhem, felling trees, snapping power lines, and disrupting traffic in Dhaka and different districts like Faridpur, Jashore, Kushtia, Khulna, Barishal, Patuakhali, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Tangail, and Cumilla.
At that time, at least seven people died in lightning in Kisoreganj, Habiganj and Tangail districts.
The devastating nor’wester coupled with rain caused heavy damage to standing crops and trees as well as causing power disruption.
Sources at Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) said that several powerful storms lashed many other places earlier this season. But the velocity of the storm that occurred in Dhaka on April 22 was 83km per hour.
Based on the velocity of winds, nor’westers can be classified into three categories- low, moderate and severe.
The velocity of a low-level nor’wester ranges from 61 to 90 km/h, moderate from 91 to 120km/h, and severe from 121 to 149km/h.
AKM Nazmul Hoque, a meteorologist of the BMD told the daily sun that Sunday’s nor’wester that lashed over Dhaka was not that much higher than last year’s nor’westers.
“The velocity of the nor’wester was 135km per hour,” he said.
“It was a storm of the highest velocity of the season,” he stated, adding that the velocity of norwesters that took place on April 16 and 6 were 69km per hour and 75 km per hour respectively,” he said.
“Met office recorded 3-4 severe nor’westers and 7-8 mild nor’westers in April, this year,” the meteorologist observed.
He, however, said that it is quite common during pre-monsoon period when storm and hailstorm usually take place in the evening after a daylong hot humid temperature and accumulation of lows and convicting cloud.
“The number of nor’wester is not much higher than those of previous seasons,” he opined.
Disaster Forum member secretary Gowhar Nayeem Wahra told the daily sun that it is quite normal that nor’westers occur in the month of April, but the destruction caused by the natural disaster is much higher.
Traffic movement was halted on different roads as a lot of trees were uprooted in Sunday’s storm.
A number of thatched houses and small shops were destroyed while standing crops were totally damaged and seasonal fruit trees like that of mango and jackfruit were uprooted in different parts of the country.