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Celsius up in winter of fluctuations

Calcutta’s winter witnessed some reverse swing on Wednesday with the Celsius climbing almost two-and-a-half degrees within 24 hours of dropping to the season’s lowest.

The word from the weather office is that the minimum temperature is unlikely to come down in the run-up to Christmas, a time when the city likes to chill out in more ways than one.

The Celsius had dropped to 13.3 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, a notch below normal, but shot up to 15.6 overnight because of twin wind systems over north Bay of Bengal.

The forecast is for the minimum temperature to stay between 15 and 17 degrees for now.

Metro had reported that a high-pressure belt along the Bengal-Odisha coastline might aid moisture incursion.

A cyclonic circulation over the Bay near Bangladesh has since added to the moisture content in the air. “Both systems are potent at the moment and there is little chance of them dissipating in a day or two,” said G.C. Debnath, director of the India Meteorological Department in Calcutta.

Calcuttans have more to worry about than their fashionable winter wear lying unused. Rapid fluctuations in temperature are ideal for viruses that cause allergies and other infections, warn doctors.

Upper respiratory tract infections accompanied by fever are common in such weather, especially among children. “Viruses are active at the moment because of sharp temperature changes. Many people have the flu and those with asthma are falling sick, too,” said microbiologist Bhaskar Narayan Chowdhury.

Apurba Ghosh, director of the Institute of Child Health, advised an extra dose of caution in homes with children.

December is usually a lean month for viral ailments but this year has been different. Calcutta has alternated between cool and warm phases all season.