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Rain mars R-Day weekend

Unseasonal rain, accompanied by plummeting mercury and sharp winds, kept Calcutta indoors on Friday. The busy weekend events roster took the worst hit, starting with Saif Ali Khan’s debut as a rock star in front of an admiring Kareena Kapoor.

The weatherman said the rain and chill would continue on Republic Day. “The weather is expected to improve from Sunday,” said G.C. Debnath, the director of the weather section of Regional Meteorological Centre, Alipore.

According to weather officials, the cloud cover and the rain since Thursday night led to a sharp drop in maximum temperature.

The maximum temperature on Friday was 17.1 degrees Celsius, 10 degrees below normal. The minimum temperature was 15.4 degrees, one degree below normal.

“There’s only a small difference between the maximum and minimum temperature and that’s why we are feeling cold,” explained Debnath.

The moisture-laden western disturbance that lay over Jharkhand and Gangetic Bengal on Thursday hardly moved on Friday, leading to formation of tall columns of rainclouds.

The low-pressure zones generally originate in the north-western part of the country at this time of the year.

“Since the western disturbance is moving very slowly, the weather won’t change in the next 24 hours,” predicted an official. Wind from the Bay of Bengal is packing more moisture into the western disturbance, he added.

“The maximum temperature could not rise because there was no sunlight. The minimum temperature did not drop as the surface heat could not escape at night because of the cloud cover,” stated another official.

The biggest casualty of the rain caused by the western disturbance on Friday was the schedule of a star couple from the west coast — Saif and Kareena.

Saif was in town to jam and sing with Delhi band Parikrama at Nicco Park, and Kareena was here to cheer him on. But with the skies refusing to clear, the concert was called off, with the organisers promising to set a new date for the guitar-strumming Saif’s tryst with the city.

The wet spell led to the ninth chapter of Beyond Barriers, organised by the St Xavier’s College Alumni Association in association with The Telegraph, being rescheduled. The open-air concert, featuring KK as the star attraction, will now be held on Monday evening.

“We did not want to take a chance, with more than 5,000 people expected to turn up. We are calling up people or sending text messages to inform them about the programme being postponed. The entry passes will be valid on Monday,” said a member of the organising team.

KK returned to Mumbai but will be back on Monday.

The annual International Evening at Calcutta Club, also in association with The Telegraph, was rescheduled to February 2.

The organisers were preparing to host over 3,500 guests till the condition of the club grounds forced a rethink. “Many people have come from abroad to attend the event. We are trying to reschedule their tickets,” said Kalyan Chowdhary, the president of the club.

The footfall dropped by 30 per cent at the 21st Industrial India Trade Fair, at Milon Mela, on Friday. “The evening rain took its toll,” admitted an organiser.

Picnics and school outings were pushed back. “My daughter was supposed to go to Nicco Park for her school picnic, but it was cancelled because of the weather,” said Puja Jain, whose seven-year-old child studies in Birla High School for Girls.

The rain played spoilsport with the stewards of Royal Calcutta Turf Club cancelling the Republic Day races because of wet underfoot conditions and three matches of the Cricket Association of Bengal’s knockout tournament being scrapped.

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