The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rain clouds to clear before the Pujas

Siliguri, Sept. 16: The recent spate of rainfall notwithstanding, north Bengal is expected to have clear skies during Durga Puja this year.

The director of the regional met office, T.K. Chakraborty, said this in Jalpaiguri today.

“The Pujas this year will start in the third week of October. It is expected that there would be no rains during the four days of festivity as the monsoon would have withdrawn from the region by then,” said Chakraborty. “However, isolated showers will occur if there are local atmospheric changes or cyclonic movement over the Bay of Bengal.”

Heavy and incessant downpours have occurred across the region in the past one-and-half-months and the met office has recorded 45 per cent above-average rainfall in August and 96 per cent more till date in September (See chart). But the experts are of the view that the monsoon is likely to withdraw by the second week of October.

The recent spurt of rains has so far created havoc in the region with landslides, erosion, inundation, breaches in embankments and severe damage to roads reported from the region.

“So far, about 10-12 disturbances have passed across the region, causing heavy to very heavy rains,” Chakraborty said. “The erratic behaviour of the monsoon depends on several factors of the climatic system. This year, it rained comparatively less in June and July but the dearth has been more than compensated in the past one-and-a-half months.”

According to data available with the met office, August 15 recorded more rainfall than any single day in the month of August over the past 107 years.

“On that day, it rained 350.4mm, which is about half the total month’s rainfall,” the director said.

Chakraborty added that all the automated weather stations installed in different parts of north Bengal have started transmitting data.

“Some more units are likely to come up in Jalpaiguri and Bagdogra. We are yet to prepare the list,” he said.

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