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Cloud over chill hope

If you have started rummaging for laundry bills in your wallet or putting your blankets out in the sun to welcome winter, you can take it easy for a week at least.

The city is likely to experience a warm and humid spell once Cyclone Lehar makes landfall on the Andhra Pradesh coast around Thursday noon.

Meteorologists said Calcutta, being at a distance of 896km from the eye of the storm in Kakinada, is unlikely to get rainfall but will remain cloudy.

“From Thursday, the relative humidity in the city is likely to increase significantly because of Lehar. This will mean that the increased moisture in the air because of the cyclonic storm will obstruct the flow of cold winds from the north,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Calcutta. “The minimum temperature is expected to slowly go up after Wednesday.”

Weather scientists expect the minimum temperature to be around 18 degrees on Wednesday and climb two notches more by Friday.

Before the advent of Lehar, the minimum temperature in Calcutta had risen to 19.7 degrees Celsius on Sunday. But as the storm started approaching the coast and gaining in strength, the mercury level dropped to 17.3 degrees on Monday and 17.1 on Tuesday.

“Calcutta would get high clouds in the aftermath of Lehar. They would not bring rain,” said a senior official of IMD in Delhi. “Had the cyclone hit land closer to Calcutta, the clouds would be lower and would have brought rain. Rain helps reduce moisture in the air, which in turn allows the cold winds to blow freely.”

But with no rain likely in Calcutta, it would take time for the city to get rid of the moisture.

“There was a chance of an early onset of winter in Calcutta this time but it doesn’t seem likely now,” said Debnath.

Winter generally arrives in the city in the first week of December. A sustained minimum temperature of below 16 degrees Celsius and relative humidity of less than 40 per cent for two to three days on the trot is considered a parameter for the arrival of winter in Calcutta.