Puja shoppers at Gariahat. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Yippee! The wellies and brollies are out, the shopping bags and carts are in.
Calcuttans can’t stop whooping as the weather has backed them up to the hilt over the past few days to go shop-hopping for that in-fashion sari, or the teeny-weeny LBD, to wear during Puja pandal-hopping.
The sun and the clouds were engaged in a see-saw battle, raising humidity to an uncomfortable level in the bargain, but bargain-hunters couldn’t care less. The Met office on Monday said the weather would follow the same pattern for the next two days.
Shoppers thronged popular hubs like Gariahat, Esplanade, Burrabazar, Shyambazar and of course the malls.
The forecast says no heavy rain at least till Thursday and more footfalls in shops.
A senior Met official said no low-pressure system or wind formations that bring showers to south Bengal at this time of the year has been seen near the coast in the Bay of Bengal.
The “see-saw” weather will continue because moisture incursion is taking place over Calcutta at night. This means, the lower atmosphere is loaded with moisture but not enough to form clouds that can pour. The sole possibility is perspiring from every pore.
“The sun starts to beat down since morning, evaporating water vapour in the lower atmosphere. This creates thin clouds around afternoon… probably a slight sprinkle once in a while,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of the India Meteorological Department in the city.
The curtain of cloud is blown away before the sun retires for the day.
On Monday, the Celsius touched 33.4 degrees shortly before 11.30am. Normally, the mercury peaks around 2.30pm but a cloud cover a little after noon brought the temperature down to 32.4 degrees. Around 4pm, the cloud disappeared and the sun took its revenge.
The relative humidity hovered in the 70 per cent range, giving hankies and dupattas a sweaty rinse.
“High humidity throughout the day has pushed up the discomfort level. Monsoon has not receded yet and the wind is blowing in moisture-laden air from the bay,” Debnath said.
The discomfort index, which measures the effect of heat and humidity on the human body, was at the highest at 11.30am: a harsh 60.8 degrees Celsius, five degrees above the comfort zone. Though the temperature took a one-degree dip by 2.30pm, relative humidity rose from 61 to 70 per cent and the discomfort index stayed at 59.3 degrees.
“The muggy weather will stay until it rains. Light showers in the next couple of days are likely but that won’t help cool things down,” said a weather scientist.
The shoppers have made their choice: scary emoji to Sultry September, happy smiley for that crimson chiffon on a shop window.