The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Friday spillover in cloud crawl
- Incessant rain claims homes, halts trains and disrupts life

Heavy rains continued to lash the city for the third consecutive evening on Wednesday, with the weatherman predicting widespread showers in Calcutta and the rest of Gangetic West Bengal for another 24 hours, spilling over into Friday.

Director of weather section at the regional meteorological centre in Alipore, K.K. Chakraborty, said the depression that lay near Jagdalpur, in Orissa, on Tuesday, had inched into Chhattisgarh and lay 100 km south-east of Raipur on Wednesday.

“Even though the depression is moving towards Jharkhand, its progress is very slow and it is still in the grip of easterly winds blowing in from the Bay of Bengal. This moisture-laden wind from the sea is causing the heavy overcast and the rain,” explained Chakraborty.

The Alipore weather office recorded 109.1 mm of rain between 8.30 am on Tuesday and 8.30 am on Wednesday. In Dum Dum, during the same timespan, there was 162.3 mm of rain.

Chakraborty, however, maintained that the intensity of the showers had weakened on Wednesday, at least till the evening. “The day was better, compared with the preceding 24 hours, and there are signs of the depression weakening. The process, however, is expected to be slow and there is chance of the rains continuing till Friday,” he warned.

The city weather chief explained that unless the depression moves further up, crosses Chhattisgarh and embraces the dry wind from the north-west, the sky is not expected to clear. So, Thursday held out the possibility of widespread rain with some heavy showers. The weather office has also warned of “very heavy rainfall” in some pockets of the city and its neighbouring districts. This would translate, in meteorology terms, into more than 130 mm of rain.

The weather office has also issued an alert for fishermen in the coastal areas and asked them not to venture out to sea during the next 24 hours, while holding out the assurance of no fresh depression forming over the Bay of Bengal.

The incessant rainfall, meanwhile, has taken quite a toll on the city — claiming lives, inundating homes and streets and disrupting traffic. Five persons were trapped after a dilapidated three-storeyed building collapsed on Keshub Sen Street on Wednesday morning . Fire brigade officials rescued a family from the north Calcutta house and removed one of the injured to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital. The building department of the Calcutta Municipal Corporation had declared the structure unsafe two years ago.

Train services to and from Howrah station were affected on Wednesday as well. An Eastern Railway official said that tracks, particularly in the Howrah yard, have been inundated, leading to failure of the signalling system. Even the coach yard at the Jhil siding was flooded since Wednesday morning. “EMU services were delayed and five pairs of trains had to be cancelled during the day,” an official said. Circular Rail services, too, had to be suspended due to waterlogging at Ultadanga station.

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