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North chill blows as Madi flies south

The chill is back in Calcutta as the albatross, Cyclone Madi, has flown south.

On Thursday, the city woke up to the season’s coldest morning at 15.4 degrees Celsius as a weakened Madi allowed cold winds from the north to blow in again.

The Celsius dived over a degree, normal for this time of the year, but it was the coldest December 13 in five years and the third coldest for a decade. (See chart)

Cyclones, depressions and low-pressure zones are tributes to the city from the Bay of Bengal, but back-to-back systems — such as Helen, Lehar and Madi — over the past month has become an albatross delaying winter. The depressions over the Bay block the chilly Himalayan winds from blowing into the city and push up humidity.

As the untrammelled northerly winds picked up speed, weather scientists sniffed a further slide in temperature in the coming days. They said Friday’s minimum could touch 14 degrees and it might stay that way for the next 48 hours.

“Cyclone Madi has depreciated into a well-marked low pressure, losing its strength on the way. It has become a depression by Thursday evening. It is expected to make landfall in Tamil Nadu later tonight. Now there is no other wind system pushing up the relative humidity in Calcutta. The cold winds will blow freely, bringing the wintry chill,” said a senior official of the India Meteorological Department, Delhi.

The coldest minimum temperature on this day in the past 10 years was 14.4 degrees recorded in 2005, while the warmest minimum was 22 degrees, a good eight notches above normal, in 2008.

Experts said a dip was imminent from Friday because of the cold wave conditions in the neighbouring states. Cold wave conditions are said to take place when the minimum temperature is five degrees — or more — below normal.

“Parts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh are experiencing cold wave conditions. With the fall in relative humidity, Calcutta’s minimum will dip too. The humidity level will fall too,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, the director of IMD Calcutta.