Just when Calcuttans had put their winter caps on — like these kids at the Tata Medical Center Kolkata Marathon, Dil Diyey Douroben, on Sunday — the weather office portended a warm phase for the next 48 hours. Pictures by Amit Datta
The mercury dipped to 12.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday morning, by far the coldest day of the season, but the forecast says it will rise again in the next 48 hours.
According to the weather office, the Celsius would climb from Monday and usher in a “warm phase” for two-three days because of a system over Rajasthan hurtling towards the east.
“A cyclonic circulation had developed over Rajasthan on Friday. This is moving east and will lead to moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal. The system will block the North Wind, responsible for the chill in Calcutta and the neighbouring areas,” said a senior official of the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.
Calcuttans have made the most of the cold with Saturday recording the minimum at 12.7 degrees Celsius.
Musician Deeptarko Chowdhury, 23, and his friends chilled out by a warm fire. “My friends and I went on a drive on Saturday morning to Kolaghat and organised a terrace party in the evening. It was chilly and fun. As it stayed cold on Sunday, we lit a bonfire at night,” said the Lake Gardens resident and student of English at Jadavpur University.
The weather office’s forecast for the next 48 hours wouldn’t be music for the musician, though. He would have to hold his plans because the minimum might climb to 14 degrees Celsius on Monday and rise even more the following day.
But Chowdhury and his friends can bring the barbecue and balaclavas out again after Tuesday, Bay permitting. The cold will return if no system develops over the Bay to block the northerly.
An Alipore-based Met official said the temperature for the next two days depended solely on the behaviour of the cyclonic circulation, a remnant of a western disturbance in north India.
“Even if the cyclonic circulation comes to Madhya Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh, Calcutta would start getting effected with the soaring relative humidity,” he said.
The moisture content in the city would, however, be higher if the system reaches Bengal’s immediate neighbours — Jharkhand and Bihar.
A cyclonic circulation pulls wind and moisture towards itself because the atmospheric pressure within it is lesser than its surroundings. In this case, it would pull the moisture-laden air from the sea to land, the official explained.
However, the system is likely to disintegrate by Wednesday and in the absence of any other system, the chill is likely to make a gradual comeback.
Weather scientists said there was still time for “biting cold” in Calcutta, citing the example of last year when the city recorded 9 degrees Celsius, the coldest day in 23 years after 1989, on January 9.
Meteorological records showed that in seven of the past 10 years, the minimum temperature in the month was recorded after January 9.
Many Calcuttans were in doubt about the chill returning because there have been too many hurdles to the cold this season in the form of weather systems.
Since December, whenever the minimum has dipped below normal, either a cyclone or a depression or a high-pressure belt had blocked the winds bringing the cold to Calcutta.
Calcutta never had more than three consecutive days of sub-normal temperatures this winter, while there had been phases when the temperature jumped above the normal mark.
Reason enough for Ballygunge resident Neha Ranade to call this winter “disappointing”. She was looking forward to the minimum dipping to 10 degrees or below in January.
“All of December was warmer than usual. Even New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were warm. January is the coldest month of the year. When do we get to experience biting cold?” the 25-year-old fashion designer demanded.