Mamata Banerjee tugs at the rope of the ISKCON rath at Park Circus on Thursday. (Pradip Sanyal)
Calcutta had to wait four days since the onset of the monsoon for its first taste of seasonal showers on Thursday but the weather office has ruled out chances of a downpour in the next 48 hours.
“I woke up to roaring thunder and overcast skies. For a change, there was decent rain after the build-up,” said homemaker Rupsa Bhattacharya, who did not mind missing her morning walk because of the rain.
“So far the monsoon has only been on paper. Today, for the first time this season, we got a feel of it.”
The city had received only 1.1mm of rain since the monsoon’s arrival till Wednesday. “Moisture that had accumulated in the atmosphere from Sunday to Wednesday led to the showers on Thursday. The monsoon is still weak though and there is no possibility of heavy rain in the city at least in the next two days,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, director, India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.
On Thursday, the rain brought down the maximum and minimum temperatures to normal from one and two degrees above the mark, respectively.
According to climatologist Subhash Mukhopadhyay, it’s not unusual to have a relatively dry spell immediately after the onset of the monsoon. “Since the monsoon was sluggish, it failed to bring in abundant moisture that could trigger heavy rain. So, cloud formation took time. This is not unusual. We expect rain to pick up in July,” he said.
The monsoon’s arrival, nine days behind schedule, was marked by 34mm of rainfall since the night before, a record in the past five years except for 2009.
Cyclone Aila had dragged the monsoon to south Bengal a fortnight in advance in 2009, with the city receiving 93.1mm of rain on the first day.
By comparison, Sunday’s figure was an unimpressive 34mm.
That the monsoon has arrived late this year will have no bearing on the amount of rain the city and the districts will receive this season, a senior weather scientist in Delhi said.
“The monsoon in 2009 was bad despite its early onset powered by Aila. Often when the monsoon arrives late and there is a deficiency in June, it is made up for in the next couple of months,” he said.