Nobody can say just yet whether it is going to rain during Puja but there is every chance the weather will interrupt your festive shopping plan for the week.
The Met office has forecast rain over the next two days with the prospect of a longer wet spell if a low-pressure area in the making intensifies.
Satellite pictures on Sunday showed the low-pressure area active over coastal Bengal. “The monsoon trough is unlikely to withdraw in a hurry. On the contrary, it is gaining strength because of the low-pressure area,” Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore, told Metro.
“Rainfall is likely in south Bengal, especially in Midnapore, South 24 Parganas and Howrah. Light to moderate rain is expected in Calcutta,” he said.
Monsoon in south Bengal has been on a late-season high, recording surplus rainfall in September and October after three months of heavy deficit. The normal timeframe for the withdrawal of the southwesterly monsoon from the city is October 12 to 15. Sometimes the monsoon trough stays back till the last week of October.
If that happens this year, there could be rain during Puja. The rituals begin on Sashthi on October 20.
Scientists at the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting in Gurgaon said it was too early to say with any degree of accuracy whether rain would play spoilsport this Puja.
“For the record, the monsoon trough had left the city as late as on October 26 in 2010 and on October 20 in 2009. Just the presence of the trough, however, does not imply rainfall will occur. The trough needs to become active or some other wind system has to develop for rainfall to occur. Nobody can say how the weather will shape up a fortnight from now,” an IMD official said.
The rain aggregate in the first six days of the month has already surpassed that of October 2002, 2009 and 2011.
IMD records show that it has rained 76.1mm in Calcutta so far this month. As on Sunday, the surplus for the month was 149 per cent — not bad for a season that started late and then struggled through the first three months.
“It has been an unusual season. There was barely any rainfall in June, July and early August. But post August 15, it started raining frequently, as you would expect during monsoon. September saw a turnaround in terms of the deficit and the trend has continued in October,” a weather scientist said.
While June and July recorded a 38 per cent deficit, the shortfall for August stood at 23 per cent. September ended with a surplus of 41 per cent for the month.
Going by the book, any rain after September 30 isn’t part of monsoon calculations in India, even though the trough does not leave the entire country by then. The idea is to maintain a uniform pattern in arriving at the monsoon count for each region.