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Late monsoon to drag heat spell

The current hot-and-humid spell is likely to continue for the next few days with the weather office predicting the monsoon to arrive in Calcutta by the end of next week, a couple of days behind schedule.

The monsoon winds — which reached Kerala on Friday, six days behind schedule — usually arrive in the city between June 8 and 10. This year it’s likely to arrive between June 13 and 15.

“The northern limit of the monsoon (an imaginary line tracing the monsoon’s northernmost frontier) crossed half of Kerala on Friday and is expect to keep moving north. It should reach Calcutta between next Friday and Saturday,” said Devendra Pradhan, deputy director-general of meteorology at the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta. “It is expected to reach north Bengal in the next 24 hours.”

On Friday, the maximum temperature in the city was 35 degrees Celsius, normal for this time of the year. But the humidity was on the higher side, making people feel very uncomfortable.

At 11.30am on Friday, the temperature in Calcutta was 34.2 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity, 64 per cent. At that time the discomfort index, which is a measure of the effect of heat and humidity on the body, read 62.8 degrees Celsius, eight degrees above the comfort level.

There was no respite for Calcuttans throughout the afternoon either.

At 2.30pm, with the mercury at 34.6 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity at 59 per cent, the discomfort index was 62.6 degrees Celsius.

“There is a trough extending from Assam to Uttar Pradesh, which is why the direction of the wind is south westerly in Gangetic Bengal. From that direction, a lot of moisture is moving inland,” said G.K. Das, a meteorologist at the Calcutta weather office.

Because of the moisture saturation in the air, sweat was evaporating at a slow pace, resulting in the feeling of discomfort.

According to the weatherman, similar conditions are going to continue over the weekend. “The trough will stay active for the next couple of days at least, which is why the moisture flow would continue,” said Das.

Satellite pictures and wind charts suggest that there is a possibility of stray showers on Saturday and Sunday in Gangetic Bengal but they would not be strong enough to bring the temperatures down.

There has been rain on only one day so far this month — on Monday, when it rained 21.6 mm. May’s cumulative rainfall was 139.5mm.