Like a sequel of a horror film, Cyclone Amphan 2.0 hurtled through Kolkata on Wednesday evening, uprooting trees, squashing cars, and even threatening to pull down an old building or two.
Exactly seven days to the minute, almost, since Cyclone Amphan ravaged West Bengal’s capital, fierce winds at 96 kmph swept in at 6:23 pm accompanied by heavy rain, thunder, and lightning.
Last Wednesday, Cyclone Amphan struck at 6:47 pm at 114 kmph, rose to 130 kmph at 6:57 pm and peaked at 133 kmph at 7:20 pm.
Thankfully, there was a saving difference. Cyclone Amphan was long-playing and went on for at least four hours. Today it lasted less than 30 minutes.
But for residents of Kolkata, it was last Wednesday once again. In Kolkata, more traffic and more people were on the streets today than ever before since March 25 when the nationwide lockdown was implemented. There was a warning for a Norwester typical of this time of the year in the state called the ‘Kalbaishakhi’ but no one expected wind speeds of 96 kmph.
As shops pulled down shutters and commuters rushed for the last bus of the day, two huge trees came crashing down on two cars parked on Jatin Das street in south Kolkata. The disaster response force team that turned up to clear the trees put it off for the morning as there was a risk of electrocution.
At Telengabagan in north Kolkata, a tree growing out of a building designated ‘dangerous’ because of age and poor maintenance threatened to collapse on neighbouring houses. Civic authorities had to rush in to calm frayed nerves and move the people living in ‘at risk’ homes to move to a community hall nearby.
Not just Kolkata, even several other districts were affected by strong winds, including Purulia, Bankura, West Midnapore, Jhargram, East Midnapore, north and south 24 Parganas, and Howrah.
Moderate thunderstorms and lightning accompanied by gusty winds of 40-50 kmph kept up till late into the night in southern Bengal.