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Cool breeze blows away squall

- Fleeting relief on Friday spoils chance of weekend respite

The stiff breeze that took the sting off the Friday afternoon sun also robbed Calcutta of a much-awaited squall and ensured that Saturday would be sultry, says the weather office.

Clouds appeared in the Calcutta sky a little after 2pm, blotting out the sun and raising the possibility of a thunderstorm. But according to radar information from the Alipore Met office, the core of the cloud mass passed agonisingly close to the city before giving it the miss.

The sun made a comeback after 3pm as the cloud mass faded into the Bay of Bengal.

Rain isn’t forecast for the weekend and both Saturday and Sunday are likely to be hot and sultry — typical summer weather that the city knows only too well.

Met officials said a strong wind in the upper atmosphere blowing from the north north-west direction took away the cloud mass and the squall it had brought with it to West Midnapore. Some areas of the district reported a hailstorm.

A cloud almost 15km tall had developed west of Calcutta in the afternoon. It was supposed to travel east towards the city but was pushed away just as it had entered the atmosphere.

“It was windy in Calcutta throughout the day. We recorded wind speed of up to 15kmph on the surface. Similarly, the upper layers were also windy and that led to the clouds being blown away from Calcutta’s vicinity,” a weather scientist said.

West Midnapore had a 20-minute squall with wind speed of up to 30kmph that brought rain as well as large chunks of hail that damaged crops, including mangoes.

Experts said the periphery of the cloud mass had reached Calcutta, turning the sky overcast for a while. But as this part of the cloud did not have enough moisture within, it didn’t rain in the city.

The partly overcast conditions brought the maximum temperature in Calcutta down by more than three degrees Celsius overnight: from 36.6 on Thursday to 32.6 on Friday, two notches below normal.

It was the first time in nine days that the maximum temperature had dropped below normal. Last weekend, the day temperature had pushed 40 degrees Celsius, kicking off a spell of dry heat.

On Friday, relative humidity was high, never dropping below 52 per cent. But despite all the moisture in the air, it didn’t get too sultry as the temperature remained low and people didn’t perspire as much.

The weather office said the maximum temperature in Calcutta would be in the normal range — 35 to 36 degrees Celsius — on Saturday and Sunday.