FERVOUR AND FUN: St. Paul’s Cathedral decked out for the midnight mass on Monday; (right) friends Mihika Agarwal, Vaishali Bagrodia and Nidhi Hirjee shake a leg at Tollygunge Club X-Mas Eve party. Pictures by Sayantan Ghosh and Pabitra Das
Google’s Santa Tracker would have us believe Father Christmas has been chilling out in some tropical paradise after a tiring journey across the globe, but he did ensure Molly Gomes got her Xmas delivered extra chilled.
Calcutta’s coldest Christmas Day in recent memory — the maximum of 21.3 degrees Celsius is the lowest December 25 reading in a decade — took mother-of-two Molly back to her childhood days in Krishnagar when Yuletide was synonymous with a shiver despite being wrapped in woollens.
While 21.3 degrees Celsius would be a catastrophe in Santa’s abode, Calcutta’s day temperature on Xmas was way below the previous low of 24.3 degrees Celsius recorded last year.
“The minimum was higher than last year’s (12.4 against 11.9 degrees) but that was hardly discernable because of the uniformly low day temperature,” a Met official said.
Molly, a resident of South City, knew Christmas Day this year would be colder than normal the moment she stepped out with her family to attend the midnight mass at Christ the King Church in Park Circus.
“I love my Christmas chilled and the weather was just what it should be. We wore more woollens than usual, yet felt the cold. I was transported back to Krishnagar, where I spent my childhood,” she told Metro.
According to the weatherman, the conditions are ideal for the chill to endure till New Year’s Eve. Not that Calcuttans, including those who prefer their party attire short and sexy, are complaining.
Meghna Sehgal, 15, chose a black number for her evening at Tollygunge Club X-Mas Eve with friend Bushra Navid and didn’t seem to mind the chill despite not being adequately covered up for the weather.
“No… I have danced enough!” quipped the young fashionista on being asked if she wasn’t feeling the chill.
Aditi Singh Roy’s party attire too challenged the Celsius dip. “I did not think twice before wearing this dress!” she said.
The average minimum temperature in the city on Christmas since 2003 has been 14.3 degrees Celsius. Tuesday’s 12.4 is the second lowest minimum temperature for this day in a decade, jointly with 2009. But what made the real difference was the strong and steady north wind.
“The northerly wind has been flowing freely via Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and other places in the north where there has been snowfall. That is why the wind has been so chilly,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of the regional meteorological centre in Alipore.
Weather scientists say that more important than the Celsius reading for a winter day is what a person feels, represented by an index that is calculated taking into account the temperature, the wind flow and the humidity. Lower the humidity and higher the intensity of the wind, lower the temperature felt by the body.
“This is like the discomfort index in summer, calculated as the cumulative effect of heat and humidity on the human body,” Debnath said.