A resident of Aminpur in North 24-Parganas holds hailstones that fell in front of her house on Saturday.
Picture by Mandira Mukherjee
The city received summer’s first showers on Sunday and the weather office predicted more rain in the next 24 hours.
Salt Lake and areas on the northern fringe of the city received heavy rain for half an hour on Sunday evening.
Two cyclonic circulations and a low-pressure trough connecting them, which are drawing moisture inland, are responsible for the rain on Sunday.
The same weather systems had resulted in a hailstorm in south Bengal districts and a downpour in Bangladesh’s Mirpur, which ended the England-New Zealand World T20 match prematurely on Saturday evening.
Sunday’s rain in the northern and north-eastern parts of Calcutta started a little before 6pm and continued for 30 minutes, bringing the temperature down.
“The sky was cloudy since evening. The same had happened on Saturday as well but it did not rain. Sunday, however, was different. We were happy to be drenched,” said Suparna Auddy, 26, who was at City Centre, Salt Lake, with friends when it started pouring.
Sunday’s rain was accompanied by a lot of lightning and thunder but there was no storm. The Met office hinted at the possibility of the city getting a Kalbaisakhi on Monday. Bengal got the season’s first Kalbaisakhi — in the form of a hailstorm — late on Saturday, under the impact of the two cyclonic circulations and the low-pressure trough connecting them.
“The systems are likely to remain active on Monday as well and can trigger a Kalbaisakhi in the city,” said an official of the weather department.
“For a storm to be called Kalbaisakhi, the wind speed must reach at least 45kmph and remain so for at least a minute,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, director, India Meteorological Department, Calcutta. Also, there has to be a sudden surge in the wind speed.
Hailstones bigger than cricket balls and weighing more than a kilogram came crashing down on the districts of Birbhum, Hooghly, Burdwan, Nadia, Murshidabad and the two Midnapores. Closer to the city, Aminpur in North 24-Parganas, 8km from Kamduni in Barasat, was lashed by hail.
“The roof and bonnet of the car got dented as it was buffeted by hailstones about four inch in diameter,” said Gariahat resident Somdev Chatterjee, who was visiting a relative in Aminpur.
At many places the hail drilled holes in roofs made of earthen tiles or asbestos.
In Hooghly district more than 2,000 houses were affected, said district magistrate Manmeet Nanda. At Rajhat, in the same district, which is famous for its peacocks, three of the birds died after being struck by hail. Many trees were uprooted as the wind speed reached 60kmph.