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Nip in air but not of winter

The calendar shows it’s October but the Celsius might have many believe it’s December.

Calcutta’s hypersensitivity to cold may be the stuff of monkey-cap humour but Mousumi Karmakar did have a point when she argued with her husband on Sunday morning about keeping the fan at full pelt.

A piece of meteorological statistic backs up the 30-year-old homemaker from Sovabazar. Early on Sunday, the Alipore Met office recorded a temperature of 19.9 degrees Celsius, which is around the afternoon readings in some of the popular hill stations of the east.

Shillong was 20 degrees Celsius and Gangtok 19 at 2.30pm, which is normal in those parts at this time of the year. Calcutta’s average minimum temperature of 21.7 degrees Celsius between October 21 and 27 is, however, the lowest in three years.

“I fought with my husband for keeping the fan running. I felt cold, just like you do in winter,” said Mousumi, who wraps her one-year-old daughter Prithika’s head in a scarf if she takes her outdoors after sundown.

According to weather scientists, the drop in temperatures is neither unusual nor a trend. “There’s little chance this will herald an early winter. The Celsius might actually rise a little,” the Met office said.

Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of the regional meteorological centre in Alipore, said lower levels of humidity than usual were responsible for the pleasant weather.

“Troughs of low pressure are common around this region in the second half of October. But no trough or other such weather system was observed till a few days back. That is why the weather wasn’t sultry during Durga Puja,” Debnath said.

A depression south of the Bay has since been drawing chilly winds from the northwest, keeping the minimum temperature lower than the October average. The year 2009 was the last instance of late-October being cooler than this.

Monsoon departed this year three days before Puja after bringing 186mm of rain in the first fortnight of October. The city had received some amount of rain every day during that period.

There isn’t any rain on the radar, though. “The current depression is quite a distance from the coast,” an official said.