A weather warning has been circulating on social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. The widely-shared message says:
“A very severe weather system is entering North India any time today. Strongest winds in 7 years with heavy rains and hails are expected. Heavy down pours likely to continue for 48 hours throughout northern Punjab n Kpk [sic]. Please take all precautions as winds gusting up to 100 Km are likely to cause serious damage. Avoid unusual outside exposure and keep cars under cover.”
According to the message, northern part of India will witness strongest winds in seven years with heavy rains. It also warns of wind gusts upto 100kmph.
The same information is being circulated, with ‘Pakistan’ in place of ‘north India’ in the message.
The viral message is fake and propagates incorrect information.
BP Yadav, Deputy director, Delhi, India Meteorological Department told The Quint that the department has not issued any such warning and there is no record-breaking severity of winds expected.
“IMD has not issued any such warnings. Yes, there are conditions favourable for dust storm and thunderstorms with lightening and gusty winds of 60-70 kmph all across North Indian states. But there is nothing like record breaking severity in seven years etc. Our warning stands largely for tonight and it will be over from tomorrow.”BP Yadav, Deputy Director, Delhi, India Meteorological Department
According to him, even though there will be gusty winds of 60-70 kmph all across northern India, it will subside by Thursday, 18 April.
IMD's website also does not issue any such warning and only states that wind speed will reach a maximum of 70 kmph.
The office of Deputy Commissioner of Punjab’s Faridkot had also issued a statement warning everyone of bad weather and winds gusting up to 100 kmph, however, it did not mention anything about the strongest winds in seven years.
When asked about the circular, Kumar Saurabh Raj told The Quint, “We received a thunderstorm warning from the meteorological department and hence, we issued an alert. We did not want people to panic so we put our team on standby. The 100 kmph number was coming in from everywhere on WhatsApp.”
Pakistan Meteorological Department warned of “More rain-thunderstorm with gusty winds is expected at scattered places in upper Punjab (Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Faisalabad Sahiwal divisions), upper Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Malakand, Hazara, Mardan, Kohat, Peshawar divisions), Islamabad, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, while at isolated places in Quetta and Zhob divisions.”
However, it did not mention that these areas will be witnessing the strongest winds in a while.