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    Squall wreaks havoc, kills one

    BALASORE: A thunder squall hit Balasore district on Saturday noon causing widespread damage to public properties and business establishments. While one person in Fuladi area was killed in lightning, two were severely injured.The four-day industrial expo and Balasore Mahotsav which were inaugurated on Friday were declared closed by the organisers as the squall damaged stalls and the stage. Traffic was disrupted in the town for a couple of hours after the storm and municipal authorities had a tough time clearing the uprooted trees, broken branches and damaged hoardings. The coastal town plunged into darkness as the gale uprooted many electric poles and trees, resulting in snapping of power supply since 4 pm. The electric wires from the main feeder at Gudipada were disconnected and poles were uprooted at Sunhat.Nesco Superintending Engineer Gobinda Sahu said poles and wires worth lakhs of rupees have been damaged in the squall. “We are trying to restore the supply as soon as possible. While Gudipada feeder has been restored, power supply will be restored to the areas where wires have been disconnected by midnight,” he said. Similarly, many poles in Srijang and Basta areas were uprooted and power supply snapped. Though Jaleswar witnessed rain accompanied with hailstone, wind caused damage in Basta, Baliapal and Bhogarai blocks. “We are receiving reports from various parts of the town and the district about the damage caused by the squall. Revenue officials have been asked to assess the damage and send reports,” said a district- level officer.However, the half-an-hour spell of rain brought the humidity and temperature down. “The gale has a speed of over 80 km that lasted for nearly 10 minutes,” said a local Met official.