Calcutta has beaten Mumbai on one count at least. “I thought Mumbai was humid but this is unbelievable,” said Shankar Mahadevan, sweating profusely outside Science City on Monday.
If Bollywood’s musical man said he had “not faced such heat and humidity anywhere in a long time”, the Calcuttan on the streets could not agree more.
The city wilted on Monday under the combined assault of heat and humidity, with the discomfort index soaring to 66 degree Celsius, 11 points above normal.
Adding to the weather woes, a unit in CESC’s Budge Budge plant tripped for the second time in two weeks, resulting in rotational power cuts stretching up to two-and-a-half hours between 10.20am and 3.30pm.
The weatherman, however, held out some hope over the next 48 hours — a cloud cover and an activated monsoon could bring relief.
“It’s a little premature to forecast but the dormant monsoon flow could be activated in 48 hours. A clearer picture would emerge on Tuesday. There is also the possibility of a cloud cover which could bring down the discomfort level,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of the Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore.
Independent weather analysts told Metro that the monsoon current would be activated if a low-pressure area formed to the north of the Andamans and turned into a depression while moving in a northwesterly direction.
“Its movement would push the northern limit of the monsoon further into the mainland and activate the flow,” said a senior analyst from Delhi. The monsoon had officially been dragged into the state by Aila on May 25.
The mercury on Monday touched 36.5 degree Celsius, three points above normal. The minimum temperature was 29.6 degree Celsius, three points above normal. The humidity ranged between 93 and 64 per cent.
As Calcuttans braced for another sweltering day, the first unit at CESC’s Budge Budge plant tripped at 10.20am, causing a shortfall of over 200MW and bouts of power cuts across the city.
“The unit tripped because of a minor glitch. Prompt action was taken and the unit was functioning normally by 11.52am. While it tripped, loadshedding crossed 200MW,” said a CESC official.
The utility imported 513MW from the state electricity distribution company and 103MW from other agencies but the demand-supply gap could not be bridged. At noon, the shortfall was 180MW. CESC announced there was no loadshedding on Monday evening.