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Rain cloud on Durga Puja, washout unlikely

High temperature during the day could trigger rain post-afternoon: Met department

By Debraj Mitra in Calcutta

  • Published 2.10.19, 5:40 AM
  • Updated 2.10.19, 5:40 AM
Rainfall in Kolkata
Rainfall in Kolkata (Shutterstock)

 Rain is likely to play asura this Puja, the Met office warned on Tuesday.

Satellite images on Tuesday showed a high possibility of rain in Calcutta and the surrounding districts between Friday (October 4, Sashthi) and Tuesday (October 8, Dashami), according to weather scientists.

The only solace: a washout is unlikely, in the absence of any major weather system over the Bay of Bengal.

But the city and its adjoining areas are tipped to receive intermittent showers on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Sashthi, Saptami and Ashtami). If anything, the intensity and volume of rainfall are likely to increase on Monday and Tuesday (Navami and Dashami), the forecast said.

“The showers are likely in the afternoon and the evening. The heating during the day will lead to the rain,” a Met official said.

For Calcuttans, rain has been the real Mahishasura every Durga Puja in recent past except in 2018 and 2015.

The day temperature, which has been on the rise for the past two days, is unlikely to come down in the next few days. Moisture-laden winds from the Bay of Bengal, combined with the heating on land, will lead to the formation of rain-bearing clouds and trigger showers in Calcutta and its adjoining areas, Met officials predicted on the basis of satellite images.

A brief rainy spell last week kept the Celsius under check. The maximum temperature was well under 30 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. It started rising on Monday (32.3 degrees) and the Celsius clocked 33.4 degrees on Tuesday.

“We expect a high-pressure belt to form over the Bay of Bengal within three to four days. That will lead to flow of moisture into land, where conditions will turn favourable for the formation of rain-bearing clouds,” said Ganesh Kumar Das, director, India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.

The cyclonic circulation that was causing the downpour in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar over the past few days has moved towards Bangladesh, sucking all the moisture in the air and leading to the rise in temperature that is likely to continue over the next few days. While the next one or two days are likely to be dry, the heating is set to trigger showers from Friday.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday are likely to see scattered rain, but the showers will be stronger and more widespread on Monday and Tuesday, said a Met official.

The monsoon usually withdraws from Calcutta on October 10. However, over the past few years, the rain-bearing winds had been withdrawing after the scheduled date.

The weather goddess granted Calcuttans’ wish last year, gifting a Puja the city had been praying for: not a single day of rain and comparatively low relative humidity. The weather was perfect for pandal-hopping.

In the five years before 2018, only 2015 had seen an absolutely dry Puja. In 2014, 2016 and 2017, it had rained on every Puja day in the city.

The city experienced its heaviest Puja rainfall in 2013, under the influence of Cyclone Phailin (pronounced Pilin) that had crashed into Odisha on Ashtami.

In 2016, 38.7mm of rain was recorded on Ashtami. The combined volume between Sashthi and Ekadashi was 82.7mm.

Last year, cyclone Titli had passed over Calcutta just before Puja, ensuring a clear sky on the festive days. Titli, which had made landfall in Andhra Pradesh, moved over to Bangladesh, sucking the moisture in the air.

The only balm from the Met office for now: there is little chance of heavy rain that can lead to waterlogging during Puja 2019. In Met parlance, heavy rain translates to 60mm or above in 24 hours.

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