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The major lightning regions and associated casualties over India

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Lightning, a climate-related highly localized natural phenomenon, claims lives and damage properties. These losses could only be reduced by the identification of active seasons and regions of lightning. The present study identifies and correlates the lightning-prone regions with the number of casualties reported over India at the state/union territory level. The seasonal and monthly composite satellite data of Lightning Imaging Sensor for the duration of 16 years (1998–2013) have been analyzed in this study for the identification of the major lightning-prone seasons and regions over India. The casualties due to lightning have also been estimated using data from Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India, National Crime Record Bureau report of India. The spatial distribution analysis reveals that lightning occurs mostly in hilly regions over India throughout the year (26 flash/sq. km/yr) and, however, causes lesser casualties because of the sparse population over the hilly terrain. The seasonal analysis reveals the most lightning phenomena occur during the pre-monsoon period (40–45 flash/sq. km/yr) over the northeast region of India. During the winter period, the lightning dominates over the northern parts of India such as Jammu and Kashmir. The state-wise casualties’ study reveals that maximum casualties are reported in Madhya Pradesh (313 deaths), Maharashtra (281 deaths) and Orissa (255 deaths) on an average per annum. The favorable climatic conditions, such as availability of moisture content, unstable atmosphere and strong convection, cause severe cases of lightning over the regions of Orissa and Maharashtra.

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We gratefully thank National Crime Report Bureau (NCRB) for providing the various natural disaster data over India and also thank the Earth Observatory System and Science Programme for providing the TRMM/LIS data. We would also like to acknowledge Dr. D M Lal for his kind support through out the study work.The funding support from MoES project (MoES/16/18/2017-RDEAS) is acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Swagata Payra.

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Yadava, P.K., Soni, M., Verma, S. et al. The major lightning regions and associated casualties over India. Nat Hazards 101, 217–229 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11069-020-03870-8

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  • Lightning flash count
  • Lightning hazards
  • FRD
  • Casualty