|grey skies, blue sari and red alert for rain
Satellite picture of the depression in the Andamans that could hit Odisha or move towards Andhra, in which case Calcutta will escape with sporadic rainfall during the Puja days
||Draped in a navy blue taant sari, Tanusree braved the Tuesday rain to taste the Kurkure chaat outside Vishal Mega Mart, Baguiati. “Despite the rain I chose to wear a sari because Puja is knocking at the door and my Puja is never complete without draping a sari on all the five days,” the Tolly actress smiled.
The event was part of Kurkure’s Priyo Chilli Flavour Khao, Star-er Shaathe Shopping-e Jao. Picture by Bhubaneswarananda Halder
The atmospheric formation 1,200km from Calcutta that had promised to suck away from the city what remains of the monsoon trough has turned into a graver threat itself.
Over the past 24 hours, it has gathered enough moisture to turn into a depression and now threatens to develop into a cyclone which, if it gets too close to the Bengal coast, could ruin the last two days of Puja — a bad barter for a relatively dry Sashthi and Saptami.
If it veers towards Andhra Pradesh, Calcutta would continue experiencing sporadic showers because of the still-active monsoon trough but escape the flooding rain that a cyclone brings to areas within its range.
Tuesday was another overcast day with spells of sunshine as the monsoon trough continued to draw moisture from the Bay of Bengal, leading to clouding and rain.
Metro decodes the weather systems at play to find out the best-case scenario for an anxious city on the cusp of celebration.
Where is the depression now?
Near the Andamans on the Bay of Bengal, still 1,200km from Calcutta.
Will it turn into a cyclone?
It was a low-pressure area on Sunday with slow movement. The longer a system with atmospheric pressure less than its surroundings stays near its vapour source, the stronger it gets. This one has already become a depression with more power to pull matter towards itself. Meteorologists say there is 99 per cent chance it will become brawnier.
When will it hit land?
By October 13 (Navami), according to the weather office. But the effect can start a day earlier.
By when will we know which way the cyclone is headed: Andhra or Odisha?
That would be Sashthi. The direction it takes will depend on the prevailing temperature, pressure and wind conditions at sea at that point.
Any chances of it hitting Calcutta directly?
There is not much chance of that happening. It is more likely to hit land lower. But there will be moderate rain in Calcutta if it hits land within a range of 400km from the city. If it gets even closer, rainfall will increase in duration and intensity. Scientists expect it to hit land in Odisha or Andhra Pradesh. If you don’t want your Puja ruined, pray it is Andhra. To put it in perspective, the distance between Puri and Calcutta as the crow flies is just over 403km.
How did we arrive at the distance of 400km?
The movement of wind and water vapour within all such systems is anti-clockwise. The radius of the potential cyclone’s spiral bands is already 400km.
How long would the system take to reach this point?
It would take the system about 48 hours to travel 800km and reach within 400km of the city. That would be Sashthi.
So if the cyclone hits land below Puri, will Calcutta have a dry Puja?
Unfortunately, no. There could still be some thundershowers due to the peripheral effect of the cyclone. Other parts of Bengal closer to the Odisha coast will be worse off. Monsoon winds are still active in Calcutta, so the city will keep getting sporadic rain. If the cyclone hits land close by, the last two days could see heavy rain.
When does monsoon withdraw from Calcutta?
By October 7 or 8. This year, it could be around October 15. Dashami is on October 14. Sigh!
Had the low-pressure area not intensified, would it have been a rain-free Puja?
There was a possibility of that happening as the low-pressure area could have sucked the monsoon trough away and then turned towards Andhra.
What will the cyclone be named?
Phailin (pronounced Pi Lin), a Thai name meaning “sapphire”.
What will the temperature be like during Puja?
That’s the only positive. The maximum would be between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius. If anything brings a bead to your brow this Puja, it is likely to be rain.