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Lightning strikes kill 24 people in India amid unusually heavy rain storms in Gujarat state

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New Delhi — Lightning strikes killed 24 people and injured 23 more over the past two days in the western Indian state of Gujarat, government authorities said Monday. Three buffalo were also killed by the strikes, which came amid a deluge of rainfall atypical for this time of year in the region.

Several people in Gujarat's Morbi district posted images of hail falling during the storms on social media.

The weather department had put Vadodara, one of Gujarat's main cities, on alert for thunderstorms and high winds, but there was no loss of life there and the city only got light showers.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said more rain was forecast to hit parts of the state through Monday.

State authorities said they were assessing damage to agriculture and would pay compensation to farmers after the survey.

India's capital New Delhi received light rainfall Monday morning, helping to bring down air pollution levels in the city.

Gujarat and other coastal Indian states have faced several extreme weather events over the last decade, including cyclonic storms and flooding. Scientists blame an increase in the frequency and intensity of these events across on climate change.

Earlier this year, Cyclone Biparjoy caused widespread devastation in Gujarat and along the southwest coast of neighboring Pakistan.

In August 2020, heavy rain sparked flooding that killed 14 people in Gujarat, and in September of the preceding year, unusually heavy, late monsoon rains across several Indian states submerged streets, hospital wards and houses, killing at least 100 people.

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