black and white finish: Workers give the banks of Ranchi Lake a makeover on the eve of Chhath on Sunday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
After Cyclone Nilam, shield your festive fervour against another tempest.
Weathermen on Sunday warned of a gathering storm over the Bay of Bengal, which will intensify into a cyclone, nicknamed Mahasen, in the next 24 hours and dampen the Chhath spirit with blanket clouds and rain.
“A deep depression over the bay is swelling into a cyclone. It will result in unseasonal rain and thundershowers in several parts of Jharkhand in the next 48 hours,” confirmed A.K. Sen, the director of Patna Meteorological Office.
According to Sen, the depression, which formed over the east central Bay of Bengal, is moving towards the Andhra Pradesh coast. This will result in cloud formation and moisture incursion into atmosphere in Jharkhand and its neighbouring states.
The Regional Meteorological Centre at Alipore, Calcutta, seconded weathermen in Patna. “The cyclonic system that is building up has no direct link with Jharkhand, but the wind field associated with it covers a vast area. This will result in cloud cover and thundershowers in Jharkhand,” said the duty officer.
He added that Cyclone Mahasen was likely to have a landfall around Chennai and south coastal Andhra Pradesh over the next three days.
In a prelude to the tempest, the freak weather robbed Chhath-ready Jharkhand of its winter sunshine for most of the day. And, there is no guarantee the dark clouds will make way for the Sun God to bless vratis during sanjhiya and bihaniya arghya on Monday and the day after.
Prabha Singh, a homemaker in Jamshedpur, said she would be very disappointed if the weather played spoilsport.
“Chhath is the worship of Surya. We make offerings in the evening and the morning. A cloud cover will be unwelcome. We will have to follow the time (of sunset and sunrise) to perform rituals,” she said. Another devotee rued that rain and thunder would make it difficult for them to carry the soop, which is decorated with lighted diyas too.
Meanwhile, complementing the brewing storm, minimum temperatures climbed on Sunday. The reading in Ranchi rose to 14°C, compared to 11.2°C on Saturday, a sprint of three degrees in 24 hours. The minimum was five notches above the average normal.
The Met office in Jamshedpur recorded a minimum of 18.9°C against 16.2°C some 24 hours ago. The reading was four notches above normal.
Daltonganj was still cooler at 11.9°C, while Dhanbad and Bokaro recorded 13.3°C and 13.6°C, respectively. Koderma, Simdega, Dumka and Deoghar too witnessed higher night temperatures.
Met officials said the adverse weather would push up minimum readings by another 2-3 degrees in the next 48-hours though the maximum will drop a few notches because of cloud cover.
Cyclone Nilam, which had made a landfall in distant Tamil Nadu on October 31, had cast a shadow in the run-up to Diwali. Places like Jamshedpur, Ranchi and Daltonganj had recorded about 50mm of rainfall. Mahasen seems to have taken a cue.
Last year, Jharkhand had celebrated a dry Chhath.