The Telegraph
Monday , February 17 , 2014
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Rain triggers winter’s last tango


Woollens and umbrellas made a comeback on Sunday as the rain shifted gears from a drizzle to a downpour, dragging the maximum temperature down to 10 notches below normal.

By 8.30pm, the Alipore weather office recorded 38.7mm of rain, the highest on any February day in the past 10 years . The forecast is for the rain to continue till noon on Monday, followed by the return of chill-laden winds from the north.

The blustery conditions on Sunday reminded Alex Zarifeh, a visitor from Birmingham, of home. “We had expected a warm and sunny day in Calcutta but what we are experiencing is more like home,” said Alex, part of a touring party from Arthur Terry School in Birmingham, England.

The rain didn’t just pull the day temperature down to 20.1 degrees Celsius, it also disrupted the weekend entertainment schedule for many.

Shaam-e-Ghazal, an open-air concert at Nicco Park in association with t2, was called off.

At St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, the first two matches of the second inter-alumni cricket tournament in association with The Telegraph were underway when the rain got stronger. The players were forced to go off the field but the matches resumed in the gymnasium, which was converted into an indoor cricket arena.

“We switched from leather to tennis balls and continued the fun. On the brighter side, some of the ladies in the alumni associations could play under the changed format,” said Sharat Singh of Alumnorum Societas, the old boys’ association of St. Xavier’s Collegiate School.

The weather office said the cloud cover and the rainfall would continue till noon, after which the sky would clear for the sun to make a brief appearance. The day temperature is expected to peak at 24 degrees, but the twist in the winter’s tale lies further ahead.

The morning temperature is expected to drop to 14 degrees, four degrees below normal, by Tuesday with the rain clearing the atmosphere of moisture and allowing the cold North Wind to flow freely. Sunday’s minimum temperature was 17 degrees, one rung above normal.

“A combination of three factors has brought rain to Calcutta. There is a western disturbance over the Northeast, then an anti-cyclonic circulation and also a trough of low-pressure spread from central to eastern India. All these systems are pulling water vapour from the Bay of Bengal towards land, leading to cloud formation and rain,” said Devendra Pradhan, deputy director-general of meteorology at IMD, Calcutta.

By Sunday evening, the western disturbance had weakened and the anti-cyclonic circulation was in the process of passing over the state, pulling the trough along. The anti-cyclonic circulation was spread over a 400km belt, triggering rainfall at most places in the east.

Pritam Ghosh, 24, was among those who didn’t mind the bleak weather. “It was quite warm last week and we had expected to be hurled headlong into summer prematurely before the rain came. I am so glad the nip in the air is back,” said the young man, who had stepped out on Sunday to teach underprivileged children in a south Calcutta school.