Severe thunderstorms battered parts of West Bengal, India, on Tuesday afternoon May 11, 2021, resulting in at least eight fatalities. The storm system also brought hailstorms, which ravaged wide swaths of crops. Authorities are yet to confirm the extent of the damage.
Gusty winds of up to 54 km/h (34 mph) lashed the districts of Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas, Nadia, Murshidabad, Bankura, Purba Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, Birbhum, and Purulia.
According to the met department, Dumdum saw up to 96 mm (3.8 inches) of rain, Alipore 102 mm (4 inches), and Saltlake 116 mm (4.6 inches).
Heavy rains triggered waterlogging in many areas across Kolkata, including Central Avenue, which slowed down traffic during rush hour.
Authorities confirmed at least eight casualties from the severe weather. In central Kolkata, a man was electrocuted to death along a flooded street outside the North Gate of the Raj Bhavan.
According to the police, the victim fell down and tried to get hold of a lamppost, which electrocuted him to death. "We are trying to ascertain the person's identity," a police officer said.
In Birbhum, two people died when a car collided with a dumper at Nanoor amid heavy rains. In Murshidabad, a lightning strike killed a farmer who was working in the field. In Baksara, a woman was also killed by a lightning strike in the Botanical Garden police station area in Howrah City.
What happens when successive governments fail you on solving basic needs like excellent drainage system to avoid such water logging in just a couple of hours heavy rain. #westbengal #liluah #howrah pic.twitter.com/Qtv8sSGaqJ— Subhajit Paul (@subholeads) May 11, 2021
#WeatherAlert for #WestBengal: Rain and thundershower associated with lightning strike over Bankura, Bardhaman, Birbhum, Uttar & Dakshin Dinajpur, Hooghly, Howrah, #Kolkata, Malda, Murshidabad, North & South 24 Parganas, Purba & Paschim Medinipur districts during next 3-4hrs. pic.twitter.com/c81DVE0Xbk— SkymetWeather (@SkymetWeather) May 11, 2021
10-yrs of "Unnoyon" of Mamata Banerjee like that of 7-yrs of "Vikas" of Modi turns West Bengal to an underdeveloped state.2-hrs rain flooded Kolkata.Such "man made" non-governance is unpardonable though.. . SFI-DYFI Activists came to pull manhole-covers for drainage of the water. pic.twitter.com/zlgRbk265E— SUNDAR DUTTA (@SUNDARmyth) May 11, 2021
In Baltikuri, a 28-year-old man died after being struck by lightning while working in the field with his mother, who was injured. The mother is undergoing treatment and was reported to be in critical condition, the police stated.
Two other victims were killed by lightning strikes in separate incidents, one in Khandoghosh and another in Naohati in the Jamalpur police station area of Purba Bardhaman District.
In Malda, a hailstorm ravaged wide swaths of crops, with Jute and Bodo paddy severely damage. Other affected areas were Chanchal, Gajole, Habibpur, and Bamangola.
The extent of damage is yet to be confirmed, according to Snehasis Kuila, Malda's Deputy Director of Agriculture.
Featured image credit: Flickr