It’s a hot sunny day and all of a sudden you see a low, rolling cloud approaching from a distance. In no time you feel grit pelting your cheek and your vision is blinded. You are in the pre-monsoon season and yes, it is a dust storm!
Regions affected by Dust storms in India
In the pre-monsoon season, dust storms are a common phenomenon in Northwest India. The states including Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi-NCR, west Uttar Pradesh and north Madhya Pradesh bear the brunt of the frequent occurrence of dust and sand storms.
Relatively drier and hot winds coming from the desert areas of Rajasthan pick up a lot of loose sand and lift them to great heights. These turbulent winds impair vision and could lead to disastrous consequences. Dust in suspension and other particles get energetically lifted up during a dust storm.
What forms the dust storm?
A dust storm is declared when the speed of the winds cross the threshold value of 38 kmph. Such a phenomena could last from few hours to days.
How to survive a dust storm?
1. As soon as you sense a dust storm, cover your nose and mouth with a piece of cloth or mask. It is advisable to carry a mask, designed to filter out small particulates, in this season.
2. Buy airtight goggles to protect your eyes. In case of emergency, just wrap a cloth around your head tightly to cover your eyes and ears.
3. Apply some petroleum jelly to the inside of your nostrils. It will prevent your mucous membranes from drying up.
4. Storms are less forceful at a hill top. Seek shelter in such a solid and high point, only if the storm is not accompanied by lightning.
5. Don’t try to hide in a ditch as you could be a victim of flash flood, even in the absence of rain in your location. It may be raining at a nearby place and ditches or other low-lying areas can quickly get flooded.
6. Camel is your best friend in a desert and it will also protect you during a storm. Camels are well adapted to brace dust storms and you can easily take shelter on its leeward side.
7. If you on a sand dune, do not take shelter on its leeward side. Strong winds can carry huge amounts of sand and you could find yourself buried in sand.