The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rain rings cyclone signal

Just after Durga puja, it was a depression. Just after Kali puja, it is a “deep depression”. The result — a real wet October.

A little over a fortnight after Calcutta and the districts were battered by four days of incessant showers, the weatherman on Monday warned of the next round of rain ravage over the next two days.

The cause of concern — a deep depression swirling over east-central Bay of Bengal, with ominous signs of it intensifying further and developing into a cyclone.

K.K. Chakraborty, director of the weather section of the regional meteorological centre at Alipore, said the depression, that had formed over the north Andaman Sea and its adjoining areas on Sunday, further intensified into a deep depression and lay centred on Monday morning about 900 km south-east of Visakhapatnam. “As the crow flies, the system is located about 1,000 km away from Calcutta,” explained Chakraborty.

A deep depression, he added, is just a step short of a cyclone. “We are keeping a close watch on the system, as this may intensify into a cyclone. The deep depression is now moving at a speed of about 25 kph. It is likely to move in a north-westerly direction and cross north Andhra Pradesh and the south Orissa coast, between Visakhapatnam and Gopalpur, by Tuesday night,” observed Chakraborty.

Over and above the deep depression, a trough of low pressure now extends from the system to Orissa and Jharkhand.

“Under the combined influence of the system and the low-pressure trough, we are already experiencing an overcast sky and heavy rain. We expect more showers, with the possibility of some heavy showers, accompanied by gusty winds blowing at about 45 kph to 50 kph, in Calcutta and five other districts near the Bengal coast in the next 48 hours,” said Chakraborty.

Along with Calcutta proper, heavy rain is expected in Howrah, East Midnapore, Hooghly and North and South 24-Parganas. Till 5.30 pm on Monday, 33.8 mm of rain was recorded at Alipore.

Alipore Met Office witnessed a flurry of activity throughout Monday, with officials poring over charts and constantly scanning the satellite pictures of the “deep depression” that appeared as a vast curling mass of white over the Bay of Bengal. “Look at the system, it looks menacing,” said an official.

“We have already alerted the state government about it… Fishermen have been asked not to venture into the deep seas,” said Chakraborty.

Relief minister Hafiz Alam Sairani said he had spoken to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. “We have alerted the administration in the districts and instructed them to keep relief material ready in case of an emergency,” said Sairani, who has been asked by the chief minister not to leave town.

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation, too, has received an alert from the weather office and the warning has been relayed to the 20 pumping stations across the city.

“We have also alerted the departments dealing with roads, conservancy and drainage. We have requested the CESC to ensure uninterrupted supply of power to the pumping stations,” said mayor Subrata Mukherjee.

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