Jorhat/Tezpur, Oct. 20: A massive storm that hit Jorhat, Sonitpur and Nalbari districts late last night and this morning, has killed 15 lesser adjutant storks, besides injuring several persons, damaging houses and disrupting road communication between Upper and lower Assam.
The storm hit Jorhat in the wee hours today and Sonitpur and Nalbari districts between 10am and noon.
According to Regional Meteorological Centre at Borjhar in Assam, the storm that lashed Jorhat, Sonitpur and Nalbari districts was caused by a cyclonic circulation over south Himalayan West Bengal and adjoining areas of Assam and Meghalaya.
The cyclonic circulation that had persisted since Friday extended up to 3.1km above sea level.
In Jorhat, at least 15 lesser adjutant storks died and several others were injured when branches of the tree that the birds were nesting on at Dohotia along National Highway 37 here, broke in the massive storm.
The onslaught of strong winds — with speeds between 4 and 14 kmph — accompanied by heavy rain, lasted for nearly 15 minutes, injuring several persons and damaging over 100 houses, mostly on the western outskirts of the city under Pulibor police station.
Tea bushes in a few estates were also damaged when the shade trees got uprooted and fell on the bushes.
Power supply remained disrupted in the district for over 12 hours.
Road communication between Upper and lower Assam remained suspended for several hours in the morning today as trees fell on National Highway 37 at Charingia on the western outskirts of Jorhat city.
Lesser adjutant storks are listed as vulnerable in the IUCN list because of its rapidly dwindling population.
A forest official said several branches of a peepal tree located along the highway broke in the storm and the birds, mostly chicks, fell to the ground.
“Several birds were critically wounded. The storm has blown away a large number of nests of these birds,” the official said.
The official said four injured birds have been shifted to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation near Kaziranga National Park.
Anjan Talukdar of the CWRC said of the four injured birds admitted at the centre, one died soon after it was brought there while three others were recovering.
“We have also received carcasses of eight birds. More birds are on their way to the centre,” he said.
Shubham Gowala, the circle officer of Jorhat (west), said over 100 houses were damaged in the storm, mostly in areas under Pulibor police station.
“We are conducting a survey on the actual damage and the victims will get compensation accordingly,” he said.
There are also reports of a few persons being injured but the injuries are minor, he said.
Power supply in the district remained suspended the whole day as trees fell on 33KV power cables that supply power from the powerhouse at Garmurh to the city.
“Several trees have fallen on the power cables. Work is under progress to restore power,” an ASEB official said.
An owner of a tea garden on the eastern outskirts of Jorhat said the storm caused massive damage to his garden by uprooting at least 300 shade trees.
In Sonitpur district, several houses and properties were damaged under Naduar circle at Itakhola and nearby Ambari and Diplonga Metera areas this morning around 10.
Several houses and electricity lines were damaged within 15 minutes.
A team of district administration officials rushed to the spot to assess the damage.
Power supplies were cut off after the storm. The villagers cleared Diplonga Metera Gaon after the storm. The damage was yet to be ascertained till the filing of this report.
Sonitpur deputy commissioner Lalit Gogoi said a senior official rushed to the spot immediately.
According to the assistant deputy commissioner, F. Ahmad, more than four villages have been affected.
A villager, Kamal Das, told The Telegraph over phone that the residents could not do anything as the storm was over in a short time.
More than 20 villages have been affected in Nalbari district by the storm around noon today where several houses were damaged.
The most affected villages are Natun Dehor circle, Molarkochi, Jorddi, Modhupur, Milanbazar and Kilakuti.
No casualties have been reported in any of the districts so far.
The weather office said the monsoon will withdraw from the state in the next couple of days and light rain may occur in different parts of the state, though there is no cause for concern.