The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 15 , 2014
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Rain fails but hope floats

Rain rebuffed Calcutta yet again as it experienced another sultry summer day on the eve of Poila Baisakh with the maximum temperature touching 37.1 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal.

The city registered at 2.30pm on Monday a discomfort index of 61.4 degrees Celsius, seven degrees above the comfort zone.

The Met office had predicted the previous day a thunderstorm on the first day of the week but the moisture in the city’s air got sucked out by a tempest over Jharkhand, which got its first Nor’wester of the season late in the afternoon.

Scientists remained optimistic about rain in the city, probably in the next two days. They said the conditions were ripe for squalls to develop in the Chhotanagpur Plateau, the Nor’wester hatchery.

Rain could also ride a fresh high-pressure belt over the Bay of Bengal, which has started to push moisture back into the city and its neighbouring areas. The Bay-to-land vapour flow could continue at least till Wednesday, a scientist said.

“Sustained heating and adequate humidity, especially over the Chhotanagpur Plateau, are needed for thunderclouds to develop. The plateau is very hot at the moment. The moisture incursion at this point augurs well for squalls,” said an official at the India Meteorological Department, Calcutta.

The plateau-born squalls normally adopt an eastern trajectory and the city falls in its path.

But the storm that originated in Dumka, Jharkhand, didn’t visit Calcutta because the wind in the upper atmosphere in the afternoon was heading west. “Had there been a Northwesterly wind, the storm could have come here. There was Westerly instead, pushing more towards the north,” said an official at the Alipore Met office.

The wind, blowing at the speed of 45kmph at Dumka, did turn east for a while and brought light rain to the western districts of Bengal.

Scientists said intense squalls were expected in the next two days, unlike Monday’s “mini-Nor’wester” in Jharkhand, because of moisture incursion from the Bay.