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40 Killed in India Dust Storm, Heavy Rains

The Qutab Minar monument is silhouetted against a dark cloud covered skyline following a thunderstorm in New Delhi, India, May 13, 2018.

A powerful dust storm, heavy rains and thunderstorms have killed more than 40 people across northern India.

The storms, with winds of more than 70 km/h, struck Sunday, demolishing homes, uprooting trees and downing power lines in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and the Delhi region.

In the capital New Delhi, winds of more than 100 km/h forced 70 flights to be diverted, and caused the closure of Indira Gandhi International Airport for more than two hours, emergency authorities said.

Earlier this month, similar unseasonable storms killed more than 150 people and injured 200 in five states. Schools and colleges remain closed in several districts.

Such storms are unusual at this time of the year in India, with the start of monsoon season nearly six weeks away.