The rain that the city had been yearning for finally came on Saturday evening.
Around 7.15pm, gusts of wind accompanied by streaks of lightning signalled the onset of the storm. Soon, the rain started.
The Met office recorded a maximum wind speed of 64kmph at 7.23pm.
The showers started with a short but sharp spell. The intensity reduced with time. But the continued well beyond an hour. The Met office recorded around 12mm of rain in Alipore.
The rain and winds cooled down a parched city that had been rainless for the longest time since 1980.
From Belghoria to Behala, many Kolkatans enjoyed the showers on terraces and balconies.
Around 7pm, a satellite image with a Met bulletin had shown the clouds closing in on Kolkata.
On Friday evening, gusts of wind and streaks of lightning were followed by a brief drizzle in some parts of the city and on its northern fringes.
The rain on Saturday was more uniform and widespread.
A lamp post fell on the Behala-bound flank of the Taratala Flyover, stalling traffic for almost an hour on DH Road.
At some places, giant flexes came off hoardings. Some hung from the skeletons while others were lying on the road.
The storm lifted the mood of Kolkatans, reeling under a never-ending hot and dry spell.
New Market was more crowded than usual because of the rush of Id shoppers. Many people without umbrellas did not look for shelter.
The scene was similar at Gariahat and Hatibagan.
After Friday’s drizzle, the maximum temperature in Kolkata on Saturday dipped to 34.6 degrees Celsius, the lowest in nine days.
On April 25, the mercury was hovering around 40 degrees Celsius.
The sky was partially clouded since Saturday morning. The clouds shielded the city from the blazing sun.
The day was much more bearable than the past few days, when the city had been under the assault of heatwave-like conditions.
A trough of low pressure from Uttar Pradesh to Gangetic Bengal and increased moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal prompted the Met office to issue another alert on Saturday afternoon.
The alert was not for another heatwave but for “enhanced thunderstorm activity over the districts of Bengal” from Saturday to May 4.
Gusty winds clocking up to 60kmph have been predicted during this time.
“The conditions are conducive for thunderstorm activity across Bengal. The meeting of opposing winds — hot and dry winds from northwestern India and moisture-laden southeasterlies from the Bay — is happening over Jharkhand,” said a Met official.
The clouds that formed on Saturday moved eastwards, triggering thunderstorms over Bankura, Birbhum, West Midnapore and adjoining areas before reaching Kolkata.
The clouds over Kolkata in the morning and afternoon were formed by a mixture of local heating and moisture. The stronger clouds reached the city in the evening.
From the afternoon, the day was breezy. Walking on the road did not seem as taxing as it had in the past few days.
Howrah and Hooghly, the neighbouring districts of Kolkata, also got a spell of thunderstorms on Saturday evening.
In Kolkata, the maximum temperature went below average — around 35.3 degrees Celsius — for the first time in nine days.
On April 21, the maximum temperature was 34.4 degrees Celsius. The effect was visible across the city.
Around 3.30pm, Maidan looked much more crowded than it had been for the past several days. Several groups of young boys played football and cricket.
The horse-drawn carriages around the Victoria Memorial were busy throughout the second half.
“There were hardly any customers before 5.30pm for the past few days. Today, I was busy since 3pm,” said Javed, a coachman. Police said traffic had to be diverted in several places.
Theatre Road was closed to traffic from Loudon Street because a tree was uprooted.
Similarly, traffic was hit after a tree fell on Raja Santosh Roy Road in Alipore.