The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Heat wave threat hovers

Calcutta, May 15: A scorching sun and searing winds from the west scalded Calcutta and the rest of south Bengal today, killing three persons and putting the city within striking distance of a heat wave.

The maximum temperature soared to 39.3 degrees in Calcutta, the highest so far this summer in the city.

The regional meteorological centre at Alipore has issued a heat wave warning for Jharkhand and interior Orissa this afternoon. A similar heat wave warning will have to be issued for Calcutta if the mercury touches 41 degrees.

“We don’t find any possibility of rain tomorrow as conditions are not favourable,” said K.K. Chakraborty, the acting deputy director general of meteorology at Alipore.

The dry winds blew over from the western and northwestern parts of the country through Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, bringing down the humidity.

“There was virtually no incursion of moisture from the Bay of Bengal as the south-westerly wind in the lower level dropped. This resulted in the plummeting of minimum humidity from 58 per cent on Saturday to 40 per cent on Sunday,” said Chakraborty.

When humidity falls, people sweat less but they turn more vulnerable to heat strokes. The three people who died ' two in Murshidabad and one in Birbhum ' were out in the sun when they collapsed.

G.C. Debnath of the Met office said hot winds were blowing over land at an altitude of 1.5 km above sea level.

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