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Second coldest Feb. 3 in 10 yrs, chill to stay for 48 hrs

Monday was the second coldest February 3 in 10 years in Calcutta with a strong Northwesterly wind dragging the mercury down to 12.5 degrees.

The weather office said it would remain chilly for the next two days.

Calcutta’s minimum temperature on Monday — down by 1.2 degrees from Sunday’s — was three notches below normal.

Birbhum, West Midnapore and Burdwan experienced a cold wave — marked by a fall in the minimum temperature by at least five degrees below normal — on Monday.

The Met office has warned of a similar condition in the three districts, Purulia and Bankura on Tuesday.

The city’s minimum temperature would vary between 12 and 13 degrees on Tuesday.

“I felt a shiver as I stepped out of my house to drop my son at school around 6am. It was quite warm a few days back and I thought winter was over. I didn’t expect the cold to return but I am happy it has,” said Abira Basu, 34, of Shyambazar.

The weatherman said cold winds that had started blowing on Sunday because of a high-pressure belt in central India picked up pace on Monday.

According to records at the Alipore weather office, a northwesterly wind blew at 4kmph at 5.30am. It increased to 8kmph at 8.30am. The same wind speed was recorded at 5.30pm, too.

“The high-pressure belt is likely to stay active for a while and the minimum will continue to be in the vicinity of 12 degrees,” said a weather scientist.

The high-pressure belt over central India, the scientist pointed out, has an atmospheric pressure lower than its surroundings and is pushing cold waves from the north to the eastern states of Jharkhand, Odisha and Bengal, leading to a fall in temperatures in this region.

As the day wore on, however, the weather got warmer.

“After a walk from Esplanade to Chandni Chowk around 3.30pm, I felt warm and was perspiring,” said Sandip Mukherjee, 41, a private sector employee.

The day’s maximum temperature was 26.4 degrees, a notch below normal.

According to experts, even though cold winds could be felt throughout the day, the sun was strong too, which led to solar insulation and made people feel warm.

Officials at India Meteorological Department, Delhi, said a Western Disturbance active over Pakistan would hit north India within 48 hours and cause rainfall there. This would block the cold winds for a while.

“Skies are now clear over Calcutta and its surroundings. That’s why the winds are blowing strong and the sun is bright. We expect the temperature to go up from Thursday because of the Western Disturbance,” said a senior IMD official.