New Delhi (Web Desk): At least 77 people were killed and more than 100 were injured in fierce dust storms that hit the northern Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
The storms on Wednesday disrupted electricity, uprooted trees, destroyed houses and killed livestock, the BBC reported.
Many of the dead were sleeping when their houses collapsed after being struck by intense bursts of lightning.
Dust storms are common in this part of India during summer but loss of life on this scale is unusual.
The storms largely affected three districts in Rajasthan - Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur - where at least 31 people were killed. Officials say Alwar is worst affected. Schools in the district are closed.
Forty-five people died in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, 36 of them in Agra district which is home to the Taj Mahal monument. Officials believe the death toll could increase.
The state government has also announced that families of the dead will receive 400,000 rupees (about $6,000; £4,400) as compensation.