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Two storms on the trot, third on radar

Calcutta received its second Nor’wester in as many days on Sunday evening and a hat-trick is in sight, according to the weather office.

The storm started around 8.30pm with a top wind speed of 45kmph, punctuated by thunderclaps and bolts of lightning every few seconds. The rainfall was heavy till 9.15pm in most parts of the city, tapering down to a drizzle that stayed steady beyond midnight.

For Calcuttans who had been thirsting for a shower for 38 days, the Nor’wester ensured that the maximum temperature remained a notch below normal at 34.3 degrees Celsius. Saturday’s reading was 33.6, also a degree below normal.

“It’s been a great weekend. I have been out with friends on both days, enjoying the cool breeze and the rain after a long time,” said Ranjan Ghosh, 24, visiting Park Street for dinner.

Ranojoy Sen, 21, was returning to his Gariahat home from Dhakuria after the storm and he chose to walk in the drizzle rather than hail a taxi.

Unlike Friday, when parts of the city didn’t benefit from the smart shower that broke the dry spell, Sunday’s Nor’wester saw an even distribution of rain. The Alipore weather office recorded 10mm of rain till 11.30pm.

The squall hit its peak of 45kmph a little after 8.30pm, marginally less than Saturday’s top speed of 50kmph.

Storm activity with a sustained wind speed of 45kmph and above for at least a minute qualifies to be called a squall. A squall is categorised as a Nor’wester if it originates in the Chhotanagpur Plateau, to the north-west of Calcutta.

Meteorologists said two weather systems had resulted in the flow of moisture towards land from the Bay of Bengal, triggering the twin storms that originated in Jharkhand and travelled towards Calcutta.

“The level of heat and humidity in the Chhotanagpur Plateau is just right for tall thunderclouds to develop there and travel east, which is exactly what has been happening since Friday. This is likely to continue and bring showers and gusty winds to large parts of Bengal,” said G.C. Debnath, director of the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.

Many homes in town haven’t felt the need to switch on the air-conditioner at night since Friday, a far cry from the previous weekend when Calcutta had recorded afternoon temperatures close to 40 degrees Celsius. “A breeze is blowing in from the Bay, keeping the temperature under control as well as ferrying moisture,” a weather scientist said.

One of the two weather systems responsible for the influx of moisture shifted away from the city on Sunday but a thunderstorm on Monday is still a strong possibility.