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Clouds make a comeback, rain may follow

After a wet wet Durga Puja, will Diwali be a damper too? A cyclonic circulation over north Bengal has brought back overcast skies and fear of a rainy rerun.

A cyclonic circulation, substantially weaker than a cyclone, over north Bengal created conditions conducive to rainfall on Friday just as the city seemed to have shaken off the effects of Cyclone Phailin.

It is expected to bring rainfall to north Bengal and Assam but spare Calcutta. The withdrawal of the monsoon trough — which meteorologists said would have left Calcutta by Saturday — though is likely to be stalled, creating the possibility of south-westerly winds bringing more rain over the next couple of days and prolonging an already-stretched monsoon.

The south-westerly monsoon usually recedes from Calcutta around October 10 but this year it has already stayed eight days longer and is expected to linger for at least three to four days more.

“The cyclonic circulation over sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Assam will not bring rainfall to Calcutta by itself. But it is pulling air towards itself and has changed the atmospheric condition in the region that had become favourable for the withdrawal of monsoon winds,” said a senior official at the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.

The city generally receives 157.8mm of rainfall in October but this year it has already received 303.5mm so far — more than half of it during Puja, from Ashtami to Dashami.

The sky cleared only on Thursday, after a monsoon trough originating from the weakened storm dissipated. The clouds made a comeback on Friday.

With monsoon winds still blowing in moisture-laden air from the Bay of Bengal, the city can expect more formation of clouds and more rainfall.

The weekend is expected to be cloudy with light showers here and there.

The silver lining: Met officials said there is no formation in the sea that could bring heavy rain to the city now.

But going by the frequent low-pressure formations in the Bay of Bengal, Met officials are wary of ruling out a Diwali washout just yet.