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Cloud cover on Dol and Holi
- Warm weekend to make way for breezy festival weather

Topsy-turvy March is set to serve up a festival special — warm weather over the next two days making way for a cloudy and breezy Dol and Holi.

The weather office said on Thursday that a formation currently hovering somewhere over Afghanistan could hurtle eastward and keep the Celsius down — and humidity up — during the festival of colours.

On Thursday, a thin curtain of cloud hung over Calcutta and pushed up the humidity level.

Friday is likely to be warm but this year’s unusual March weather will take over after that, meaning Dol on Sunday and Holi the next day would be celebrated under an overcast sky with a breeze blowing from the northwest.

If the Met department is proved right, getting drenched on Holi and the prospect of a long scrub to get the stubborn stains off might not be fun.

Aman Agarwal, 19, likes his Holi wet — pichkari and all that paraphernalia.“Not a muggy-muggy, cloudy-cloudy Holi, please. It should be bright and sunny,” he said.

Devanshi Bansal, a student of Class XI, has lined up “a crazy Holi party” from 8am to 4pm on Monday. But a mischief of clouds along with a breeze could force her to reduce the party to a dry-colour affair.

The forecast for the weekend is sultry weather with the temperature already inching past normal for the first time this month on Wednesday. The Celsius did drop a little on Thursday but the Met office has predicted another rise on Friday.

The maximum temperature had risen to 34.1 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, a nick above the normal range of 34. This was the highest recorded temperature in 154 days since October 11, 2013. Relative humidity was high as well, ranging between 89 per cent and 44 per cent.

Thursday’s reading was a notch below normal at 32.9 degrees Celsius, courtesy a cloudy sky.

Similar temperatures are expected on Sunday (Dol) and Monday (Holi).

“We come out in full gear by 8am and smear each other with colour. There’s no stopping till afternoon. I would hate if the weather stays gloomy just as it was on Thursday. It should be sunny or rainy, not something in between,” said Megha Banka, 22, who lives near the airport.

The revellers-in-waiting prayed for rain, but the Met department is not expecting any on Sunday or Monday. “A cyclonic circulation over Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh has been drawing moisture from the Bay of Bengal. It is weakening and moisture incursion will stop on Friday. This means, the temperature will go up,” said an official of the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.

The sky will not remain clear for long. “Clouding will start again over the weekend and continue till the first two-three days of the week because of another circulation on the horizon,” the official said.

Experts said an unprecedented number of Western Disturbances has hit the country this winter, prolonging the snow season in Kashmir. Heavy snowfall in March has led to avalanches and damage to life and property in the northern state.

“Another strong Western Disturbance is likely to move towards India from Afghanistan. This will bring more rain to northern India and lead to cyclonic circulation and clouding in the eastern states. The cloud cover will keep the Celsius under control but the humidity level may touch the discomfort zone,” said an official of IMD, Delhi.

The experts described the troughs of low pressure and cyclonic circulation over central India in March as “residual effects” of the frequent and strong Western Disturbances, which are storms born in the Mediterranean.

The wind system from central India rushes east because of the difference in pressure — sweeping Calcutta with a cold breeze after lashing Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh with rain. A similar wind was blowing from the northwest at 4kmph at 8.30am on Thursday.