The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Weather office signals wet spell ahead

Calcutta and its neighbourhood are expected to receive spells of heavy rain on Thursday, according to the weather office. The city received nearly 60 mm of rain in the past 24 hours (till 5.30 pm on Wednesday).

Chief of Alipore Meteorological Centre R.N. Goldar said isolated heavy showers are likely in Calcutta and the districts as the monsoon is now “active”. “A low-pressure area has built up over Chhattisgarh and adjoining Madhya Pradesh. Under its influence, rain will occur at most places in Calcutta and other parts of Bengal,” he added.

Goldar said the low pressure was moving towards north-west Madhya Pradesh, which meant that moisture would continue to come in from the Bay of Bengal, leading to scattered rain during the next few days in the state. The city woke up to an overcast sky on Wednesday and as the day wore on, intermittent heavy showers lashed different parts of the city. In the afternoon, many low-lying areas were waterlogged.

Following warnings of heavy rain, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) geared up to meet the situation on Thursday. Mayor-in-council, drainage, Rajib Deb, held meetings with engineers and asked them to alert the pumping stations. “Rainfall over the past 24 hours was distributed but if another 60 mm of rain falls within two to three hours, Calcutta will be flooded,” said a civic official.

Officials admitted that with the outfall channels choked, it was taking a long time for the water to recede in case of heavy rain. At Writers’ Buildings, the relief department said it was gearing up to tackle heavy rain in the coastal areas during the next 48 hours. Goldar said heavy showers were reported particularly from Purulia, South 24-Parganas and Paschim Midnapore. “Purulia received 85 mm, Diamond Harbour 75 mm and Kharagpur 85 mm of rain over the past 24 hours,” he added.

An official of the relief department said the districts had been alerted and magistrates had been asked to keep a watch on riverine areas, since many villages were already inundated.

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