The Telegraph
Monday , November 5 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
Calcutta Weather
Min : 22.70°C (+1)
Max : 27.60°C (-3)
Rainfall : 0.50 mm
Relative Humidity:
Max : 93.00% Min : 75.00%
Sunrise : 5:44 AM
Sunset : 4:57 PM
Light rain in city and surrounding areas.Minimum temperature likely to be around 23°C.
CIMA Gallary

It’s raining viruses

- Weather back to pleasant but holds health threats

Calcutta’s tryst with tricky weather continues, the sprinkling of November rain after a sultry spell post-Puja dragging the Celsius down but raising the prospect of viral hyperactivity.

Businessman Ronald Subhadip Bhowmick doesn’t know what to make of the weather after being forced to reach for the rug at dawn and the air-conditioner switch at night. “What season do you call this? One moment it’s warm and suddenly it feels like we are headed for an early winter,” the South City resident said.

November has already had rain on two days out of four, exceeding the three-decade average of 1.3 wet days for the entire month. There is more rain in store with the cloud cover persisting because of factors triggered by Cyclone Nilam, the Met office said.

Sunday’s maximum temperature of 27.6 degrees Celsius was three notches below normal and the lowest since the first week of September when it had rained heavily in the city. The Celsius usually stays around 31 degrees at this time of the year.

“I am loving it,” said college student Supriya Ghosh. “The weather was great during Puja and it’s very pleasant now. No complaints,” the Golpark resident said.

But what feels pleasant may not be good for your health. Doctors warn that the current conditions are conducive to the spread of viral diseases. Dengue, which ravaged the city this year, could also make a comeback if precautions are not taken against vector breeding in stagnant rainwater.

“Fluctuations in heat and humidity work in favour of viral outbreaks. September and October are always the danger months but this year was particularly bad in terms of numbers and complexity of ailments,” said Amitabha Nandy, the director of the Centre for Studies on Infection and Immunity, Calcutta.

The threats in this season of transition made unusual by weather fluctuations include rhinovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, enterovirus and metapneumovirus. These viruses trigger upper respiratory tract infections, among other complications.

“General precautions should be taken in this season. An elderly person going for a morning walk should use a muffler and light warm clothes. So should a student returning home in late evening because these are the hours when one is most likely to catch an infection,” said critical care specialist Amitabha Saha.

The weather has been unusual in Calcutta for most of the year, monsoon arriving a little late and failing to bring much rain until the last lap when it went on overdrive. September witnessed a surplus of 41 per cent rain for the month. October too saw unusually heavy rainfall until monsoon’s departure six days before Puja.

Then came a period of pleasant weather with a hint of chill in the morning that had many Calcuttans wishing winter was nigh. The nip in the air disappeared soon and the Celsius was back on the upward curve until the rain came.

The forecast includes light rain in the next couple of days, continuing the trend of abnormal weather almost through the year. According to Met records, five of the last 10 years didn’t see any rain in November.