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Night in the afternoon!
- Nor’wester No. 3 for Ranchi snaps power lines

With headlights on, cars crawl on Ranchi’s Main Road on a wet and dark Saturday afternoon. Picture by Hardeep Singh

Ranchi, May 3: A gloomy afternoon forced cars to switch on headlights amid thunder showers and a hailstorm in the state capital today but brought some cheer soon after as temperatures were down to a comfortable 34C.

Weathermen confirmed to The Telegraph that winds with speeds between 50kmph and 55kmph were a result of a Nor’wester, the season’s and Ranchi’s third, bringing almost instant relief to the state capital and its surrounding areas where the discomfort index was high throughout morning.

After yesterday’s rain and storm, that delayed the start of the IPL tie between Chennai and Kolkata, Ranchi experienced 9.6mm of rain today within a span of about half an hour between 2pm and 3pm.

Ranchi weather officer director B.N. Mandal said by the time the Nor’wester reached Jamshedpur it had weakened, recording wind speeds of 22kmph and 4.4mm rainfall. The steel city temperature was also down to 35.6C.

The rains are likely to continue tomorrow. “Due to favourable conditions for Nor’westers, there will be rains and thunder squalls in the next 24 hours,” Mandal said.

The downside of the storm was that power lines and several trees got uprooted. An elderly person was killed near Jumar river bridge, about 10km from here along Ranchi-Hazaribagh road, after a tree fell on him.

Most parts of the state, especially Ranchi, Dumka, Hazaribagh, Ramgarh and Jamshedpur, were plunged into darkness after the storm damaged overhead transmission lines, forcing power substations to cut off supply as a precautionary measure.

Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Ltd (TVNL) shut down both its generating units at Lalpania in Bokaro district around 2pm.

“Power supply lines connecting Tenughat and Patratu tripped, compelling us to shut off both our generating units around 2pm today,” Ram Avtar Sahu, general manager, TVNL, told The Telegraph over the phone from Lalpania.

The units would be restarted once the overhead supply lines were fixed.

C.D. Kumar, member distribution, Jharkhand Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd, explained precautionary shutdowns were mandatory since the entire power distribution system hinged on overhead lines.

“Over the last two days, many parts of the state have been experiencing gale winds. Today, it was particularly bad,” he said.