The monsoon set the shower tap on high for the full length of a football match on Wednesday afternoon, submerging several pockets of Calcutta in ankle to knee-deep water after two rainless days.
The rainfall was skewed, though.
According to the India Meteorological Department in the city, areas in the east and north received blinding rain for over an hour while the south had to be happy with a pitter-patter — steady but not substantial. Weather experts said the monsoon rain this season has been lopsided since its arrival a week behind schedule on June 18.
The Alipore weather office received 9.3mm of rain till 5.30pm while Dum Dum in the north recorded 30mm.
Birpara near Belgachhia got 67.5mm of rain closely followed by Ultadanga 59mm, Dhapa 60mm, Belgachhia 44mm, Maniktala 42mm and Thanthania 30mm — all in the northern wet zone.
The city’s wet spots — notorious for waterlogging at the sneeze of a frog — were inundated. Thanthania, Surjya Sen Street, MG Road, the thoroughfares in front of Akashvani Bhawan near the Eden Gardens and parts of Salt Lake were flooded by the torrential rain.
“The heaviest rainfall this season, no doubt about it. The stifling conditions of the past two days have vanished,” said Vidisha Pachisia, a homemaker from Kalakar Street.
Like the past few days, the day started under a blanket of monsoon cloud. The morning hours were extremely sultry but the humidity disappeared suddenly as the sky darkened and a brisk breeze started blowing around 12.30pm. Half an hour later, the downpour began.
The showers started in the north and subsequently moved south. Places like Kalighat and Jodhpur Park recorded brisk rainfall towards the end of a two-hour spell.
The Calcutta Municipal Corporation said the rain intensity was considerably high — about 60mm an hour in many places. Given the city’s drainage capacity of around 10mm an hour, waterlogging was inevitable in several low-lying pockets.
In the record books, however, Wednesday will go down as a day of moderate rainfall in Calcutta.
“A cyclonic circulation has been spotted over the Bay of Bengal. It is drawing moisture inland, leading to thunderclouds,” said G.C. Debnath, the director of IMD, Calcutta.
Cloudy sky and rainfall were predicted for the next two days, after which the weather system could move towards north Bengal that has been receiving heavy rain for the past few days.
in a matter of hours: SHOWER, swamped streets and the sun
This picture taken from the Royal Calcutta Turf Club shows the setting sun briefly sneaking out of spent clouds after the afternoon shower. The forecast says the sun is unlikely to show up in the next two days.
Pictures by Amit Datta, Pradip Sanyal and Mayukh Sengupta
Experts described the rain in Calcutta on Wednesday as a thundershower, the type common in summer.
According to IMD officials, the monsoon flow has been weak this season.
“The northern limit of the monsoon should have passed Delhi by now, but it is still stuck in central India. We don’t expect things to look up before July,” said a senior IMD official.
The uneven distribution of rainfall is attributed to the weak monsoon flow. “This is resulting in the formation of cumulonimbus clouds (Wednesday’s were about 6km tall), instead of the spread-out lower stratus clouds of monsoon that bring daylong drizzles,” the official added.
South Bengal has run up a June rain deficit of 24 per cent owing to the monsoon’s late arrival and little rain thereafter.
Calcutta fares better, but only just. The normal aggregate rainfall for June is 283.5mm while the city had received 226.8mm so far.