India: Severe thunderstorms hit parts of West Bengal

Severe thunderstorms struck parts of West Bengal, India, Tuesday afternoon, May 11, 2021, killing at least eight people. The storm system also brought hail that ruined extensive crops. Authorities are still assessing the extent of the damage.

Hurricane-force winds of up to 54 kph hit Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura, Purba Bardhaman, Pashim Medinipur, Birbhum and Purulia districts.

According to the meteorological department, Dumdum received up to 96 mm of rainfall, Alipore received 102 mm, and Saltlake received 116 mm.

Heavy rains caused waterlogging in many areas of Calcutta, including Central Avenue, which slowed rush hour traffic.

Authorities have confirmed at least eight casualties from the severe weather. In downtown Calcutta, a man was electrocuted in a flooded street near the Raj Bhawan North Gate.

According to police, the victim fell and tried to cling to a lamppost, causing him to be electrocuted. “We are trying to identify the deceased,” a police officer said.

In Birbhum, two people were killed when a car collided with a dump truck in Nanur during heavy rains. In Murshidabad, a lightning strike killed a farmer working in a field. In Baksar, a woman was also killed by lightning near the Botanic Garden police station in Howrah.

In Baltikuri, a 28-year-old man died from a lightning strike while working in a field with his mother, who was injured. The mother is being treated and is reportedly in critical condition, police said.

Two other victims died from lightning strikes in separate incidents, one in Khandoghosh and another in Naohati in the Jamalpur police station area of Purba Bardhaman district.

In Malda, the hailstorm destroyed vast areas of crops, with jute and bodo paddy badly affected. Chanchal, Gajole, Habibpur and Bamangola districts were also affected.

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