KOLKATA: Two separate storms lashed parts of West Bengal, including Kolkata, killing at least 15 people as winds topping 80 kilometres per hour crashed through cities. Trees were toppled, train and air traffic disrupted, electric poles uprooted in the region. Seven were killed in Kolkata and six in Howrah as the seasonal storms struck the eastern state.
Five people in Kolkata died when a tree fell on an autorickshaw they were traveling in. Two people were struck by lightning in Hooghly and Bankura districts in south West Bengal. One person was killed when a house collapsed in Anandpur, and a pedestrian died after a tree fell on him in Behala. Four people including a teenage girl, were killed in Ward 61 of Howrah near Belur in two separate incidents. Two others were electrocuted when a tree fell on overhead electric wires and the wires crashed on them. Over a dozen people were also injured in different parts of the state after branches of trees fell on them and some in wall collapses.
Officials reported a cloud build-up of 10km in height, 13 per cent more than that of Mount Everest, and a spread across 40km. The storm and rain brought down the temperature by about 7 degrees Celsius. Full extent of the damage was only evident three days later, as employees of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, and disaster management teams battled to clear uprooted trees and cables hanging on the streets. State Minister for Disaster Management Javed Khan said, “We have deployed our entire force to clean up the mess from the city streets. By afternoon, all the streets will be cleared and traffic will be normal everywhere. Most of the trouble was due to uprooted trees, lamp posts, and dangling wires.”
Mobile and internet services were hit too, with the storm bringing down overhead wires and damaging mobile towers. Two mobile towers in Uttarpara and Hindmotor of Hooghly district gave way throwing vehicular traffic off-gear.