The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doubts cloud rains advent

The monsoons are some distance — and several days — away. And the thundershower that hit the scorched city on Thursday evening was caused by stormclouds that had gathered due to the heat.

Meteorologists tracking the monsoon clouds coming in from the northeast dampened spirits raised by the evening showers on Thursday by confirming that the end to the heat-and-humidity horror was not in sight on the monsoon meter yet.

“We usually mark June 10 as the date on which the rains arrive in Calcutta, give or take a week,” said K.K. Chakraborty, director of the weather section of the Alipore meteorological office. But as things stood on the eve of Friday the 13th, the weatherman said the city was unlikely to witness “sustained monsoon rainfall” in the next 48 hours.

“And though we do not predict beyond 48 hours, there is little likelihood of the monsoon reaching the city either from the south-west or from the northeast in the next five days,” warned Chakraborty.

Also, uncertainty clouds the monsoon route — whether the rains will first hit the city from the Arabian Sea or from the Northeastern states. Weather experts are hoping that some pockets of low pressure or depression will form over the Bay of Bengal to push the rainclouds past coastal Bengal.

The likelihood of the clouds developing over the Arabian Sea reaching the city first is somewhat dim, they add.

But hope rests on the fact that the monsoon clouds travelling inland from the northeast route have reached sub-Himalayan Bengal and the latest Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin warned of “heavy rainfall” in the area, as well as in Sikkim.

The IMD forecast, too, mentioned rain or thundershowers “at a few places” in Gangetic West Bengal over the next few days.

Briefly, in the words of the IMD, one can read the weather outlook in Calcutta for the next 48 hours as: “Conditions are favourable for the onset of monsoon over Konkan during the next 48 hours. Ongoing rainfall activity over Konkan and Goa, coastal Karnataka, Northeastern states and sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim is likely to continue.”

The IMD bulletin has nothing to say, till now, about ‘Gangetic West Bengal’, where Calcutta lies, and mentions the continued heat wave in the heart of the country.

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