24 Apr 19 - Source: Myanmar Times - Two people were killed and about 4000 people were displaced by windstorms that pummelled villages across the country in early April, the Disaster Management Department said.

The two fatalities were villagers in Sagaing Region, where over 100 houses were torn apart by the wind, the agency said, adding that it has yet to get the details about the fatalities or the deadly storms in Sagaing, which is one of the country's hotspots for severe weather.

The gales also damaged houses, monasteries and other structures, it added.

"We only have data from early April and are still collecting information," a department official said.

The Meteorology and Hydrology Department had issued warnings about pre-monsoon squalls and windstorms.

It warned that huge cumulonimbus clouds – which can trigger lightning and other dangerous weather like windstorms and tornadoes – form because of high temperatures and water vapour usually in the afternoon or evening.

The Disaster Management Department has urged people to strengthen their buildings to withstand strong winds.

In Myanmar, windstorms can be very destructive during the pre-monsoon months of April and May.

But during the past few years, windstorms have occurred as early as March, apparently because of climate change and global warming, said U Kyaw Moe Oo, director general of Meteorology and Hydrology.