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Twin storms kill 15 in West Bengal as winds top 98 kmph, disrupt life in Kolkata

According to the met department, a northwestern -- seasonal storm common in this part of the world -- with gale speed of 84 km per hour hit Kolkata and other South Bengal districts in the evening.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2018 14:52 IST
HT Correspondent, Kolkata
Bengal storm,norwester,storm in Kolkata
Kolkata and its suburbs were hit by a storm late Tuesday. At least 15 people were killed in West Bengal, where mobile and internet services were also affected. (Samir Jana /HT Photo)

Two storms lashed parts of West Bengal, including Kolkata, on Tuesday evening killing at least 15 people as winds topping 80 kilometres per hour toppled trees, disrupted train and air traffic and uprooted electric poles in the region.

Seven were killed in Kolkata and six in Howrah after the two norwesters, seasonal storm common in the region, struck the eastern state on Tuesday evening. Two people were struck by lightning in Hooghly and Bankura districts in south West Bengal.

In Kolkata, five people died when a tree fell on the autorickshaw they were travelling in on Lenin Sarani in the central part of the state capital. One person was killed when a house collapsed in the Anandapur area in the eastern part and a pedestrian died after a tree fell on him in Behala on the southern outskirts.

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.

More than a dozen people were also injured in different parts of the state after branches of trees fell on them and some in wall collapses.

The metrological office said a northwestern with gale speed of 84kmph first hit Kolkata and other south West Bengal districts around 7:42pm. Another storm struck the state capital and adjoining districts with a wind speed of upto 98kmph soon after at 7:55pm.

Officials said a there was a cloud build-up of 10km in height, 13% more than that of Mount Everest, and a spread across 40km.

The storm and rain brought down the temperature by about 7 degrees Celcius. The temperature at 6:30am on Tuesday was 27.3 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees above normal. The temperature on Wednesday at the same time was 20.2 degrees Celsius or 5 degrees below normal.

Weather officials said on Wednesday that the sky will be partly cloudy during the day and there may be several spells of rain and thundershower.

Widespread damage

The full extent of the damage became evident on Wednesday morning as Kolkata Municipal Corporation employees and disaster management teams battled to clear uprooted trees and cables hanging on the streets.

“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,” state minister for disaster management Javed Khan said.

Mobile and internet services were also hit with the storm snapping overhead wires and damaging mobile towers. Two mobile towers in Uttarpara and Hindmotor of Hooghly district gave way, throwing vehicular traffic off-gear.

The twin storms played havoc with the public transport system, as trams and trains halted on their tracks with the overhead wires snapping. Flight services were affected for 100 minutes at the NSCBI Airport as planes bound for Bhubaneswar, Delhi and Agartala took off late.

Suburban train services of South Eastern Railway and Eastern Railway went haywire as trains were stopped at various stations. In South Eastern Railway’s Howrah division, services were disrupted in Howrah-Bardhaman and Howrah-Tarakdewhar sections, badly inconveniencing thousands of passengers.

A flyover railing was uprooted and fell on platform numbers 19 and 20 of Howrah station. However, no one was injured.

In Eastern Railway’s Sealdah division, train movement was disrupted in various sections.

The Kolkata Metro Railway services were hit when a tree fell between Dum Dum and Noapara stations and passengers were stuck in the tunnel.

(With inputs from agency)

First Published: Apr 18, 2018 08:57 IST