A man waiting to crossover the rain-drenched road at Esplanade.
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Kolkata: A moderate rain today, which came after several parched days, has given Kolkata and the south Bengal districts the much-needed relief. However, the accompanying lightning has claimed as many as four lives in the districts.

Kolkata and most of the south Bengal districts were virtually getting fried in the scorching heat over the past nearly two weeks. Finally, the relief came today when the sky was overcast right from the morning in Kolkata.

Several areas in Kolkata and the suburbs received a spell of good rain at around 8.30 this morning. Although the rain ceased after about half an hour, the sky remained impregnated with the possibility of more showers.

Around 3 pm, a moderate to heavy rainfall started lashing over Kolkata, South 24-Parganas, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah, West Midnapore, East and West Burdwan, Nadia, and parts of Birbhum.

In Kolkata, according to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, it has rained up to 43 mm in different parts of the city. As regards the districts, the Alipore Weather Observation Centre in Kolkata said that till this evening, it has rained 86 min in Burdwan, 64 mm in Nadia, 23 mm in West Midnapore, and 11 mm in Diamond Harbour.

At Garbeta in West Midnapore, a young homemaker named Rita Dutta and her mother-in-law Pushpalatha Dutta died after being struck by lightning. They were returning home driving a cattle herd in the afternoon when the lightning struck them and they wear almost charred to death.

At Raniganj and Barabani in West Burdwan, a teenager and a middle-aged man died of lightning.

Hrithik Kora (14) was playing football at Raniganj when the lightning struck him. He was rushed to Asansol District Hospital by local people where doctors declared him dead on arrival. Tapan Bauri (52) was overseeing his paddy field at Barabani when lightning struck and killed him on the spot.

The Alipore Weather Observation Centre has forecast that the rain and thunderstorm gusting up to a speed of 40 kmph will continue in Kolkata and the districts in south Bengal for the next 48-hours.

This is a pre-monsoon shower due to locally generated low pressure. The weather office has said that the monsoon is likely to enter Bengal earlier than its usual schedule which is 8 June.