Bangladesh Battered by Storms Leaving 60 Dead in 2 Days
A severe tropical storm system that moved through Bangladesh during mid-May claimed the lives of over 60 people throughout the nation. While high winds and flooding can often result in fatalities, lightning was attributed for the reported 64 lives lost during the two day storm.
Earth Networks Total Lightning Network™ detected 50,875 lightning strikes in Bangladesh between 12 and 13 May 2016. The time-lapse above shows the waves of both cloud-to-ground (yellow) and in-cloud (purple) lightning covering the country over the deadly two day period.
Most of the recorded deaths from the storm happened within the red box covering much of the country, shown above. In the capital of Dhaka, lightning struck and killed two young men playing football on that Thursday. There were over 30 deaths on both Thursday and Friday throughout the country, with the most deaths occurring in Rajshahi Division.
Lightning deaths in Bangladesh are not uncommon. Sujit Kumar Debsharma, former Director of the now defunct SAARC Weather Research Centre, said that thunderstorms kill around 300 people per year in Bangladesh. After this May disaster, Bangladesh’s government is reviewing the causes of the high death toll and possible solutions, including advanced nowcasting systems and lightning alerts.