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Rain, wind add sting to chill

Patna, Jan. 11: People woke up to the sound of pitter-patter and cold westerly winds today after rain-bearing clouds from Madhya Pradesh led to downpour in most parts of the state amid chilly weather.

The city recorded the lowest maximum temperature of the season till date at 17 °C.

Weathermen have predicted a drop in temperature with morning fog on Sunday and Monday as well. The highest level of precipitation was recorded in Gaya, where it stood at 39.3mm till 5.30pm. This was also the second highest rainfall in the Buddhist pilgrimage town for January. On January 24, 2008, it had rained 72mm in Gaya.

Patna, on the other hand, received 8.2mm till 5.30pm and the drizzles continued in intermittent manner almost throughout the day.

Apart from the rain, another uncomfortable weather phenomenon, termed wind chill factor was also observed in the city today. “Westerly winds were blowing at an average speed of 12kmph, which is normally around 6 to 8kmph at this time of the year,” said Ashish Sen, director, India Meteorological Department, Patna. Wind chill factor is the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by the body on exposed skin due to the flow of air.

Clouds, rain and chilly winds made residents a harried lot. “It was around 6am when I got up for my morning walk. However, I chose to remain indoors almost throughout the day. The temperature seemed quite low and the showers added to the discomfort,” said Abhinav Kumar, resident of Gardanibagh.

The cloud cover also obstructed flight operations at the airport. No aircraft could land till 1pm, as the visibility was around 1,000m till then. The minimum visibility criterion for flight operation from Patna airport is 1,200m.

The Met director attributed the reason behind poor visibility to cloud cover in the lower level of the atmosphere. “Though the cloud cover was single-layered and did not cause heavy rainfall, its position at the lower level of the atmosphere kept the visibility over the city quite low,” said Sen.

Organisers of the scheduled kite festival at Funtasia Island on Sunday also seemed apprehensive owing to the cloud cover. “The clouds and rain can play spoilsport in the festival. Schoolchildren, for whom the festival is being organised, would not be able to fly kites in such conditions. We hope it does not rain tomorrow,” said Sanjay Choudhary, proprietor, Funtasia Island.

IndiaTourism Patna, an organisation working under the ministry of tourism, in association with Funtasia Island, would organise the festival for students from classes IV to X. Around 100 pupils are expected to take part.

Kite enthusiasts, however, can take heart, as weathermen expect the cloud cover to lift by tomorrow (Sunday) morning. The temperature would dip, along with dense fog cover in the morning. “As soon as the cloud cover goes away, the temperature would drop to 5-6°C. If it starts raining from the early hours of Sunday, the minimum temperature would be around 7°C or even lower. If the clouds depart by tomorrow afternoon, such a drop in the minimum temperature would be observed on Monday,” added Sen.