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Wind packs Febrrr...uary punch

Winter’s late rally has dragged the mercury down over the weekend and paved the way for a cool start to the workday week.

The minimum read 13.7 degrees Celsius on Sunday, two notches below normal.

The temperature could fall below the teens and touch 12 degrees over the next couple of days, the weather office said. The minimum reading on Saturday was 12.9 degrees Celsius, three rungs lower than normal.

“A strong breeze was blowing early in the morning when I went out for a walk. I thanked myself for not packing away the woollens,” said Arpita Chatterjee, a homemaker from College Street.

“The cold Northwesterly wind sprang up on Sunday, making the chill feel a degree or two colder than the thermometer reading. The wind will pick up speed in the next one-two days and make the city chillier,” said a senior official of the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.

The wind, weather scientists said, was the result of a high-pressure belt over Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and the adjoining areas. The weather system, which is sending cold winds from the north towards the east, is backing winter’s late bite.

The weather office predicts the conditions will last for at least the next two days.

“A high-pressure belt increases the flow and intensity of wind as the weather system itself has atmospheric pressure which is higher than its surroundings. This causes it to push matter away from it,” explained a senior IMD official in Calcutta.

“A Northwesterly at this time of the year brings cold to eastern India. It is pushing the colder winds from north India to Bengal,” he added.

The wind kept the day temperature in check despite bright, sunny conditions. The maximum fell marginally from 25.8 degrees Celsius on Saturday to reach 25.5 degrees on Sunday, two degrees below normal.

Daytime temperature is likely to be lower on Monday. The weather office says the minimum temperature could fall two to four degrees below normal, which is 16 degrees Celsius at this time of the year.

A cold wave warning has been issued for the western districts such as Burdwan, Birbhum, Bankura and Purulia. If the minimum temperature is five degrees or more below normal during winter, a cold wave is declared.

Calcuttans could not recall a chillier start to February. “February means time for the blankets and quilts to be packed off. This year we might have to use a quilt for a longer period,” said Sourabh Roy, a retired government employee in central Calcutta.