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Sky clears, cold breezes in
- Silver-white winter, but not Darjeeling

THE NORTH WIND BLOWS...

A biting cold gripped the city and its neighbourhood on Monday, as the minimum temperature dipped to 12.6 degrees Celsius, one degree below normal. At Dum Dum, the minimum temperature was pegged at 11.2 degrees, on the coldest day of the season so far. The North Wind made its presence felt throughout the day, sending Calcuttans scurrying for cover as dusk descended.

HERE COMES THE SUN...

Officials at the regional meteorological centre at Alipore said on Monday that the minimum temperature dropped as the sky cleared up after a dark and dismal Sunday, when the maximum temperature had crashed to 18.6 degrees, eight degrees below normal. With the sun shining through on Monday, the maximum temperature rose to 21.6 degrees, a good five degrees below normal.

THE CHILL FACTOR...

Sunday’s cloud cover was caused by a low-pressure system over east Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and adjoining north Bengal and Sikkim. “The clouds were also blocking the north wind from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. As soon as the low-pressure system weakened and dissipated, the sky cleared and the cold wind came rushing in, lowering the minimum temperature. Sunday’s snowfall in Darjeeling also contributed to the chill factor,” says the weatherman. There has been a gradual decline in the incursion of moisture from the Bay of Bengal, too. So, the weather will remain cold and dry for the next few days.

A FREEZE ON THE FUTURE...

Is what Met officials are trying to get, by delving into the past. While confirming that Monday was colder than December 29, 2002, when the minimum temperature was 14.4 degrees, they predicted that the minimum temperature was likely to hover around 12 degrees Celsius on Tuesday. “This year, we expect the temperature to remain around 12 degrees till New Year’s eve. On December 31 last year, the minimum temperature was 12.2 degrees,” adds the weatherman. January 22, 2003, was the coldest day last winter (9.3 degrees).

On Monday, Burdwan recorded a minimum temperature of 10.5 degrees, Hooghly 9 degrees and West Midnapore 8 degrees.

TRANSIT TROUBLE...

Dense fog over Delhi delayed all morning flights on the Calcutta-Delhi sector by two to three hours on Monday. The Indian Airlines Delhi-bound flight finally took off at 8.45 am, instead of 7 am. Incoming flights from Delhi also arrived late, with the first touchdown at 11.10 am, instead of 8.50 am. Among the long-distance trains arriving late at Howrah and Sealdah were the Delhi-Kalka Mail, Amritsar Mail, Doon Express, Poorva Express, Jodhpur Express, Chambal Express and Darjeeling Mail.

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