Siliguri, Feb. 17: A bout of cold and drizzly weather in north Bengal since yesterday because of a western disturbance crossing over sub-Himalayan Bengal and Sikkim has brought down the maximum temperature in several places by around 7°C in the past 24 hours.
“A western disturbance entered north Bengal and Sikkim from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Friday afternoon causing cloudy weather. The region has been experiencing rainfall and a dip in temperatures since then. We will experience such weather for the next 24 hours. But it will be sunny again by Monday,” said Subir Sarkar, the in-charge of the weather station at North Bengal University.
A western disturbance is a phenomenon in which clouds bearing moisture from the Mediterranean Sea move east and reach India. The region experiences the phenomenon sporadically every winter from December till mid-March.
The India Meteorological Department in Jalpaiguri said many places in the region had received moderate to heavy rain ranging between 10mm and 50mm in the past 24 hours. “Maximum temperature at some places dipped by 5-7°C from the normal recordings yesterday,” said an IMD official.
In Jalpaiguri, the maximum temperature dipped to 20.3 degrees Celsius (the normal maximum temperature is 28), Cooch Behar to 22.3 (26), Kalimpong to 15.5 (21), Gangtok to 10 (14) and Malda to 23.7 degrees Celsius (29) yesterday. In Siliguri, the maximum temperature today was 20 degrees Celsius, five degrees Celsius less than the normal.
Kalimpong, Balurghat and Darjeeling were the three places in the region that experienced a dip from the normal minimum temperature in the past 24 hours.
The inclement weather forced Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to cancel his trip to Gangtok today to inaugurate the Sikkim International Flower Festival. He had reached the Bagdogra air force base by a special plane this morning, but his helicopter didn’t take off because of cloudy sky and poor visibility in Gangtok.