The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Expect rain, but also shine

Calcutta, Oct. 9: A smart shower lashed the city in the afternoon, sending Puja organisers rushing for sandbags to keep their pandal floors dry.

If that was the bad news on the opening day of a curtailed Puja, more is on the horizon, predicted the Met office. But the good news, if weather forecasters are to be believed, is that the rain will possibly come in a short and sharp burst.

Large stretches of roads in south, central and north Calcutta were filled with water today, when the Met office at Alipore recorded 29.7 mm rain till 5.30 pm. It said local cloud formation over parts of Calcutta led to the rain. “There is no need to panic. The monsoon is yet to withdraw from Bengal,” an official said.

There is also a cyclonic (anti-clockwise) upper air circulation over Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar, extending up to 4.5 km above sea level, which has led to heavy incursion of moisture.

“We will have these spells of showers over the next few days. But, once the rain is over, a clear sky will emerge for the rest of the day,” the official added. The Met office does not see an immediate possibility of a major storm or cyclone since no such system is visible in the Bay of Bengal.

“We don’t see the Puja washed out,” an official said.

Civic officials said the 30-minute shower had led to water-logging in College Street, Thanthania, MG Road, CR Avenue, Ashutosh Mukherjee Road, Harish Mukherjee Road, SN Roy Road, Picnic Garden Road, S.C. Mullick Road and Taratala.

Some major Puja organisers said that anticipating rains, they had procured sandbags and tarpaulin sheets. Organisers of Park Circus, Babubagan Sarbojonin and Santosh Mitra Square said as their Pujas were held on open ground, they were prepared.

“When the rain started, we immediately made arrangements to sprinkle 25 gunny bags of sand over the low-lying areas. Also, we spread sheets of tarpaulin and placed wooden planks on them so that visitors don’t have to step on mud,” said Suman Chatterjee, an organiser of Babubagan Sarbojonin Durgotsav.

At Santosh Mitra Square, Pradip Ghosh, president of the organising committee, said: “When the rain started, we thought the downpour would spoil Shasti. But, after the rain settled to a steady drizzle, we saw Calcuttans turn out in huge numbers.”

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