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Heat & humidity make city sweat

Calcutta, April 26: An unsparing sun conspired with soaring humidity to ensure that Calcuttans sweated it out for the fifth day running.

The maximum temperature today was 41.1°C, a fraction less than the 41.2°C yesterday, the hottest for an April day in a decade. But a sharp rise in humidity from 30 per cent to 45 per cent increased the discomfort level.

Meteorologists said they could not recall the last time a heat wave had lasted five days in Calcutta in April. In 2009, a heat wave had tormented the city for four days.

Met officials said the weather would continue to be sultry tomorrow, but added that there was a “slight possibility” of rain on Monday.

“Moisture incursion started yesterday because of a low-pressure trough stretching from north Bengal to Odisha. It intensified a bit today and began sucking in more moisture, making conditions extremely hot and sultry. We expect similar conditions on Sunday,” said an official of the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.

Weather scientists said a thunderstorm could develop over the Chhotanagpur Plateau on Monday and head towards Calcutta.

“We expect a weather system to form near Jharkhand by Monday and inject moisture into the air there, which could lead to the formation of a Nor’wester,” said Devendra Pradhan, the deputy director-general of meteorology at the IMD, Calcutta.

The meteorology website accuweather.com pegged the “real feel” noon temperature in Calcutta today at 54°C, although the actual temperature was 37°C. The real feel temperature — which is felt by the body — is calculated by taking into account humidity, cloud cover, winds and sun intensity and angle, among other parameters.

The real feel temperature ranged between 46°C and 54°Cin the afternoon.

Amrita Chakraborty, an English teacher at Vidyasagar College who travels between Naihati and Calcutta every day, said: “For the past one week, I had been covering my face with a cloth. After reaching Calcutta today, I used the cloth to wipe sweat rather than cover my face with it. It felt warmer than yesterday.”