KOLKATA: The season's first nor'wester accompanied by hailstorm last night claimed four lives, uprooted scores of trees and flattened several mud houses in Bengal.
Reports reaching here today said one Avishek Panda, a resident of Narayangarh in East Medinipur, was sleeping with six other friends in a boat near the Jharkhali ghat of S 24 Parganas after cruising in the water of Sundarbans.
When gusty wind started blowing around 0240 hours, they immediately got up and began to sail to jetty ghat, but the youth fell from the tumbling boat and drowned, while the rest were rescued by the fishermen.
The body was today fished out from Matla river and taken to Jharkhali coastal police station for autopsy.
In other incidents, three persons died when lightening struck them, one at Keshpur in West Medinipur and another two in North 24 Parganas and Purulia districts.
Scores of trees were uprooted, thereby bringing traffic to a screeching halt in several parts of the city and the state following the squall with a speed of 60 km per hour.
Train services were severely affected on both Sealdah South and Main sections, and as many as six trains have been cancelled, while several rescheduled.
The hailstorm has also damaged the early flowers of the orchards in major parts of South and North 24 Parganas.
The mercury also dipped by two degrees as drizzle continued drenching the city early Monday too.