Calcutta played monsoon catch-up on Sunday with the wettest day of the season so far and the bonus of a Celsius dip seven degrees below normal.
The bad news is that such conditions are too good to last, even after a monsoon delayed and almost denied.
“We expect temperatures to rise on Monday as the thick cloud cover that had blocked the sun’s rays would start to disperse….The clouds are likely to move towards north Bengal,” said Gokul Chandra Debnath, director of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore.
The city received 51mm of rain in 24 hours but what really made the Calcuttan’s Sunday was the maximum temperature plummeting to 26.2 degrees Celsius. A measure of the uniformly pleasant weather through the day was the barely one-degree difference between the maximum and minimum readings.
The minimum temperature being 25.1 degrees Celsius meant that there was no discernible fluctuation in how the weather felt at different times of day. “It could have been very stifling because the relative humidity range of 81 to 97 per cent was high, as is to be expected on a monsoon day like this. What made the difference were the thick clouds and a cool, steady breeze,” a weather scientist with the India Meteorological Department said from Delhi.
Calcuttans desperate for relief after a harsh summer made the most of the pleasant weather. “It was just the day I wanted. There was rain but not really a downpour, so one didn’t have to stay put at home,” said Jahnvi Jaiswal, a college student trawling South City mall with friends.
Monsoon officially arrived on June 17 but it wasn’t until last Thursday that the first showers of the season came. Before that, there were three spells of pre-monsoon showers totalling 53.6mm of rainfall on June 7, which is around the time monsoon should have hit town.
The June rain count currently stands at 173.7mm, against an average of 283.5mm for the month. So for the city to have a normal June, the skies need to pour another 109.8mm of rain in the remaining six days.
Met records show that June generally has 12.7 rain days. It has rained on nine days so far, which means the problem is not so much about how many as about how much.
The rain on Sunday was caused by low-lying stratus clouds that formed one to two kilometres above the earth’s surface.