The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Killer storm explodes on city

Calcutta, April 16: A Nor’wester ripped through the city and its adjoining areas at 102 kmph this evening, killing four persons, uprooting trees and snapping power lines.

The storm claimed three lives in the city and Howrah and one in Burdwan.

One of the victims in Calcutta was a supervisor of the AJC Bose Road flyover project. A tree fell on a shed under which the supervisor, R.S. Sharma from Allahabad, and three labourers had taken shelter. Police and fire brigade personnel extricated them and took them to SSKM Hospital but Sharma succumbed to injuries.

Shakil Ahmed, 41, was electrocuted when a live electric wire fell on him at Garden Reach Circular Road.

In Howrah’s Shibpur, a 30-year-old woman, Anju Adhikari, died on the spot when struck by lightning. Dhananjay Mazhi, 26, was also killed by lightning at Jamuria in Burdwan.

The storm left a trail of destruction in Calcutta. Uprooted trees disrupted traffic on Mayfair Road and Amir Ali Avenue. A portion of the boundary wall at the Maidan collapsed.

The storm raged for about half-an-hour before 26 mm of rainfall fell in the city till 8.30 pm. The storm was at its peak for a few minutes after 7.34 pm.

The deputy director general of the regional meteorological centre at Alipore, R.N. Goldar, said the Nor’wester was the fiercest of the season so far.

Goldar said the weather office spotted a 15-km tall mass of black cloud near Asansol around 2.30 pm and issued a storm warning in Calcutta and south Bengal districts between 6 pm and 9 pm.

The storm ripped apart hoardings perched on top of multi-storied buildings and uprooted trees in Hazra. In Paikpara in north Calcutta, a tree was set ablaze after being struck by lightning. The heavy showers that followed doused the fire.

Many city streets, including Minto Park, the stretch in front of Birla Planetarium and other low-lying areas, were flooded.

The rains brought instant relief from the sweltering heat, with the temperature plummeting by 9 degrees Celsius to21.3 degrees Celsius. It also plunged large areas of the city into darkness for long hours as electricity lines snapped.

Power failure in the state electricity board lines disrupted local train services in Sealdah and Howrah.

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