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Blow hot, blow cold

Lehar is likely to restore to Calcutta what Helen snatched from it: the nip in the November air.

Lehar, a rapidly intensifying cyclonic storm in south Bay of Bengal, has been drawing cold north-westerly winds as it heads for the Andhra Pradesh coast. The impact of its movement on Calcutta could be felt from Monday, weather scientists said.

Rain isn’t a possibility unless the storm veers from its projected path but a dip in minimum temperature has been forecast.

“The cyclonic storm is over the Andamans, 300km south-southeast of Port Blair and stationary for now. But it will start a slow movement towards Andhra and this might lead to a drop in temperature across the east,” a senior official of the India Meteorological Department said from Delhi.

Helen, the cyclone that made landfall in Andhra last Friday, had had the opposite effect on the weather. “Helen was a weaker system. Since it didn’t draw enough cold winds, there was more moisture in the air,” the official said.

The minimum temperature in Calcutta had dropped to 16.6 degrees, two notches below normal, on Thursday before shooting up to 18.4 degrees the next day.

Sunday was 19.7 degrees, the warmest it has been in a while. But the temperature could be back to 17 degrees soon, thanks to Lehar. “The course of the storm will decide which way the temperature goes,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, director of the IMD in Calcutta.

Once the storm weakens, the Celsius will rise again.

Winter doesn’t usually set in until after the second week of December, and there is no indication yet that the season Calcuttans look forward to will come early this year.

Winter is considered to have arrived based on certain parameters like the minimum temperature being below 16 degrees for four consecutive days.