Storms Kill 41, Injure Hundreds in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi villagers inspect the scene after tropical storms damaged houses in Gabtoli area, in northern Bogra district, Bangladesh. (AP Photo/Shafiq Islam)

(SOURCE)  Severe thunderstorms struck Bangladesh last weekend and killed at least 41 people, leaving hundreds injured.

Reuters reports that high winds and heavy rain took down walls, felled trees and capsized boats, which led to a high death toll in the northern part of the country. Officials say the storm left over 200 people injured and thousands of homes destroyed. 

 “It appears a squall line of severe t-storms erupted over Bangladesh and far eastern India Saturday. Another round formed over central and southern Bangladesh Sunday,” senior meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said. “Unfortunately, these severe thunderstorms were deadly in Bangladesh due to trees fallen by high winds, poorly-constructed homes damaged or destroyed by high winds.”

But why now, and why here? 

As Erdman explains, India and Bangladesh suffer from rashes of severe thunderstorms in the months leading up to the wet phase of the monsoon season, which starts in mid-June and runs until the end of September.

Bangladesh, with its proximity to the Bay of Bengal’s humid air and simultaneous dry air from the north and northwest, is particularly vulernable to the formation of tornadoes. 

One such tornado struck Bangladesh in 1989 and went on to become the world’s single deadliest documented tornado, claiming an estimated 1,300 lives.