The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sauna city syndrome
- Monsoon current to stay weak all week, but localised showers can be hoped for

Sourav Ganguly, struggling in the heat and humidity on the Eden Gardens pitch on Wednesday, may not see the monsoon arrive in Calcutta before he leaves to play County cricket.

For, the Met office said on Wednesday that there was little respite in sight for sauna city in the next few days. Sourav leaves town on Friday to turn out for Northamptonshire.

'The monsoon current over Gangetic West Bengal is extremely weak and this phase is likely to continue for the next few days,' said G.C. Debnath, director of the weather section at the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore.

But that does not necessarily mean a dry spell till the monsoon finally arrives.

'There is heavy incursion of moisture from the Bay of Bengal because of a favourable wind pattern. So, there are chances of isolated and localised thundershowers in Gangetic West Bengal, including Calcutta, during the next 24 hours. But this will not be monsoon rain,' explained Debnath.

Met officials said the last time the sweltering city received any significant rain was on the night of June 8.

'The low-pressure trough over Gangetic West Bengal, that had helped drag the monsoon to south Bengal from north Bengal on June 6, gradually moved northwards. This movement of the low-pressure trough away from Calcutta and the south Bengal districts weakened the monsoon current over the region leading to the present dry spell,' said an official.

After its arrival in a particular region, the monsoon grows weak and strong in cycles. 'At present, we are going through the weak monsoon cycle,' he added.

A low-pressure trough over Gangetic West Bengal with an accompanying upper-air cyclonic circulation (anti-clockwise movement of air) would have helped trigger monsoon activity in the region.

'There is no indication of any such atmospheric system at the moment. Now, it appears that the rest of the week will remain largely dry. Even if there is any rain or thundershower, it will be because of localised formation of rain clouds, and not the monsoon,' said a weatherman.

That the southerly wind from the sea is bringing in loads of moisture is evident from the high humidity levels in the city. 'Maximum humidity in Calcutta is ranging between 97 per cent and 85 per cent,' an official said.

At present, the monsoon current is 'very active' over Assam and other northeastern states.

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